The Patrol Division is responsible for providing primary law enforcement to the unincorporated townships within Daviess County including the incorporated community of Whitesville. At the time of this writing, there are 19 sworn deputies assigned to this division whereas, in the past we had 24 sworn deputies assigned to patrol duties. Several years ago, in a cost-cutting agreement with Fiscal Court, we agreed not to replace two retiring deputies. This resulted in a operational level of 22 patrol deputies. This division also oversees deputies assigned to the S.R.O. (School Resource Officer) and K-9 programs.
Although deputies in the Patrol Division are assigned permanently to each shift, they rotate monthly, and their regular days off (R.D.O.’s) change from month to month. The Chief Deputy, a Captain and a Lieutenant have overall command of the entire Patrol Division, and shift supervisors handle the day-to-day operations of the shifts.
The first shift’s duty hours are 0700 to 1500 hours. This shift is staffed with seven deputies. The supervision of this shift is the responsibility of a Sergeant. In December of 2011, a Corporal’s position was created to assist the Sergeant in First Shift supervision. Deputies who work on the first shift not only answer emergency and service calls, but also have many other responsibilities inherent to the Sheriff’s Office. These other responsibilities include prisoner transport, both locally and out-of-county, civil paper service, vehicle inspections, execution of court orders and writs, and the provision of security at the Judicial building. Additional duties may, at times, include funeral escorts, airport security details, speed enforcement in school zones and wherever requested, and drug sweeps through schools and businesses (K-9).
The second shift’s duty hours are 1500 to 2300. This shift consists of six deputies. Command responsibilities are those of a Sergeant. The second shift also shares the responsibility for answering emergency and service calls. They too, are required to transport prisoners, serve civil papers, execute court orders and writs, and, on a smaller scale, inspect vehicles. Second shift deputies typically provide security for Fiscal Court sessions. On rare occasions, a second shift deputy will be required to work airport security when a flight is delayed. Second shift deputies were recently assigned to work traffic control at Tamarack Road and Gemini Drive at the end of each school day at Apollo High School. Their main goal is to insure the safety of students walking across Tamarack Road on their way home from Apollo.
The third shift’s duty hours are 2300 to 0700 hours. Four deputies and a K-9 Officer comprise our third shift at present. A Corporal commands this shift. The hours covered by this shift tend to dictate its primary function as that of responding to emergency calls and calls for service. It is extremely rare for a third shift deputy to do out-of-county transports or serve civil papers. Over the course of their shift, third shift deputies will do several business and house security checks. Another issue our third shift faces is enforcing curfew ordinances and underage alcohol possession and drinking laws. They address the underage drinking laws by strict enforcement through arrests or citations issued to all violators.
Inherent to the Sheriff’s Office as a whole, each shift also performs, at times, more lengthy details. All patrol deputies are subject to providing traffic control for the fire department as they fight a structure fire. At times, the caseload for the detectives in the Criminal Investigation Division (C.I.D.) is so large that patrol deputies will be assigned to follow-up on certain cases. The detectives will develop leads, and the deputy will be assigned to follow-up on them. The manufacturing of “meth”, or methamphetamine, though decreasing, continues to be a scourge in our area. When a “meth lab” is discovered, detectives usually do the investigation and clean-up of the lab. A deputy, or deputies, will be assigned to provide scene security as the detectives investigate. Each of these duties tends to be lengthy and takes a deputy away from his primary duties for, at times, hours.
For any of our three shifts, each deputy can expect, on a typical shift, to be dispatched to emergency calls. These calls may range from a homicide or fatal accident, to a non-injury accident or a minor assault. Typical calls include burglaries, thefts, domestic violence disturbances, injury and non-injury accidents, assaults, threats, and criminal mischief complaints.
Also typical for any shift are calls for service. These include traffic control, debris or an animal in the roadway, assistance for a stranded motorist, welfare checks, and extra-patrol requests, assisting social services, or, assisting another agency.
In addition to all the primary functions required of a deputy, they are also asked to fulfill other needs as well. At times, deputies are asked to provide security for local events such as festivals, fairs, school and sporting events, and political or “V.I.P.” visits to our area. Our deputies participate in crime prevention events, career days, parades, community group events, and charitable events. Some of the miscellaneous activities deputies participate in may include disaster readiness exercises, or “Safety Day” events.