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April 23, 2024

Secrets of the Edgar County Sheriff's Office – Revealed – Part 1 –

By John Kraft & Kirk Allen

On March 15, 2014

Letter to the Editor: Well written discussion from facebook:
As you may know, the primary election is Tuesday, March 18. While I am, generally, reluctant to express my personal views (those of you who know me…stop laughing right now), I feel that some misconceptions must be cleared up.
There has been much discussion from several of the candidates for Sheriff regarding returning the 911 coordinators office to the county jail. I believe there may be some misunderstanding about why her office was moved to the courthouse shortly after Sheriff Motley took office. The absolute truth of the matter is that she, of her own volition, decided to move her office to the basement of the courthouse. Sheriff Motley did not force her out, suggest that she leave, or create an uncomfortable work environment unless that environment existed solely in her own mind.
While it was clear from the first day, we had elected a different kind of Sheriff, a large part of the department felt that a different kind of Sheriff was a very good thing. I believe that Mrs. Crippes was (and still is) still smarting from the defeat of her boyfriend/husband. I can understand that. My feelings would be hurt too. However, it has been nearly four years, maybe its time to let it go. I will continue to pray for her.
Now, lets talk about what you may not know about 911 in Edgar County. 911 is answered by Sheriffs office dispatchers (under the direct supervision of the Sheriff) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, every day of the year. 911 pays for 8 hours of dispatch. From 12am to 4pm, there is one dispatcher on duty. That dispatcher answers all 911 calls, all business line calls, all radio traffic, dispatches and tracks all emergency personnel, and relays information to all police departments in the county, with the exception of the Paris PD. The Paris PD has its own dispatchers. The calls for every fire department, every ambulance, and every law enforcement agency (except Paris PD) are taken and dispatched by the Sheriff’s dispatchers.
In addition, the dispatchers are responsible for several other tasks that I won’t go into at this time. From 4pm to 12am, there are usually two dispatchers on duty. The second dispatcher is partially funded by 911. It seems to me that the 911 struck one hell of a bargain here. It might be good to note, that the last information that I had, showed 911 sitting on a surplus of nearly one million dollars (please correct this if I am wrong). So, I guess the next logical question is…why is there only one dispatcher on duty during the day shift? We probably can get by with just one on the midnight shift, although I handled some big emergencies during the years I worked it. Well, I just don’t have an answer to that question. The simple answer is that the Sheriff cannot afford it. Keep in mind, the budget was all ready tight before the County Board removed $168,000.
The more complicated answer is, for whatever reason, the County Board and the 911 Board do not appear to be concerned for the safety of the citizens of Edgar County. I have approached both boards on numerous occasions seeking a solution. In my mind, crowded as it is, the simple answer is for 911 to fund a second dispatcher for the day shift. Not going to happen was the reply from both boards. However, the 911 board was willing to fund a leased vehicle and gas card for the 911 coordinator at least until the Watchdogs caught wind of it. Not to worry though, when they stopped leasing the vehicle, they voted a hefty raise for her to make up the difference.
Bringing the 911 coordinator back to the county jail would solve the problem you say? Not from what I saw in the years that she was here. Which brings us, full circle, to my opening remarks. Sheriff Motley walked into the county jail on his first day with State Troopers and drug dogs. It was clear, from the outset, that a new Sheriff was in town. It was clear that the old way of doing things was at an end. From the time Sheriff Motley took office, it was apparent that new standards were in place. Staff was expected to be to work on time, to stay at work for their entire shift, there would be no more leaving to go to the store, go to the gym, tan, shop, keep hair appointments, go to ball games, etc, etc, etc on the tax payers dime. Some of the staff just could not deal with the new standards and left. And, in truth, that is all there is to that story.
While the Sheriff does not supervise the 911 coordinator, it was glaringly apparent, she, also could not deal with the changes. Stay tuned for part 2…
Donna Throneburg


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1 Comment
  • Rog Hamilton
    Posted at 12:10h, 15 March

    Great comments from Donna. Thanks for the info.