The day that Sheriff Dan McClain will walk away from the office he has occupied for seven years plus is getting nearer.
Sheriff McClain has been nominated by President Trump to be the U.S. Marshal for the southern district of Indiana. “I realize that my time as Sheriff of Scott County is coming to a close, and I want to thank the people of Scott County for allowing me to serve as your Sheriff. We’ve had some real successes here at the Sheriff’s Department. The culture is now a thoroughly professional organization of which this county can be proud. There have been major accomplishments within this department, and many more are being planned,” related Sheriff McClain.
The biggest issue causing the most effect on the Sheriff’s Department has been opiate addiction and the HIV outbreak that followed, Sheriff McClain stated. “Our response was to disrupt the supply of illegal narcotics through aggressive law enforcement efforts with our state and federal partners and to implement a comprehensive treatment plan for those fighting addiction while incarcerated,” he explained. Those efforts included:
- Implementation of a new K-9 program. Two highly effective K-9s now serve with the department.
- Additional new patrol officers, a full-time narcotics detective and a domestic violence detective to bolster resources available to citizens.
- Partnering with the FBI Safe Streets Task Force resulted in 15 federal indictments for drug trafficking in Scott County in 2013-14.
- Partnering with the DEA Diversion Task Force resulted in the first Title III investigation in Scott County. The process resulted in 17 federal indictments for drug trafficking in 2015-16.
- Assisted both school districts with increasing security and implementing security procedures.
- Establishing the Scott County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC). This group develops emergency response plans, training and equipment to deal with accidental chemical spills by local facilities, the railroad and interstate traffic.
- With guidance from Scott County Commissioners and the County Council, continually updating the department’s vehicle fleet. All new vehicles are now purchased through a lease-buy program, which allows rotating out high mileage vehicles, giving the department its best fleet ever.
- Participating in the military surplus equipment program to obtain several vehicles and a mobile medical trailer, which has been converted to a mobile command center. The center is displayed at several local festivals and stationed at the Scott County Fair each year.
- Solved the two-year-old Paul Graupe murder and three other murders in the county through thorough investigative practices.
- Established monthly training for all active officers and reserves.
- Implemented new technology obtained through local and state grants. Laptops in patrol cars, updated video equipment, GPS tracking systems, better communications and night vision equipment have enabled officers to do their jobs more thoroughly and efficiently.
- Established a new county-owned digital radio system, which gives law enforcement, fire departments and all first responders better radio coverage.
- Modernized report writing software that connects dispatch, jail book-in officers and the Sheriff’s Department to officers on the streets, thus greatly reducing duplicate data entries. This new software was shared with the Scottsburg and Austin police departments at no cost.
- Created a new Sheriff’s Department website for better citizen outreach and transparency. There were 650,000 visits to the website in 2017.
- Instituted a local sex offenders registry on the website, which allows the public to monitor 50 sex offenders in Scott County.
- Instituted “Rule the Road,” a teen driving safety training program that provides teenagers valuable skills to use behind the wheel which are unavailable elsewhere in the county.
Of course, the expanded Scott County Security Center has greatly aided law enforcement agencies in doing their jobs well, the Sheriff advised.
“No one likes to spend money on keeping prisoners, but that is a part of the responsibilities of the Sheriff’s Department, to operate a safe jail for our staff and for the inmates. Thanks to the efforts of our Commissioners and County Council, we have a new 136-bed addition, which alleviates overcrowding. They gave our county a 200-bed facility without raising taxes and while saving our county $450,000 annually previously spent to house inmates out-of-county,” McClain said.
Additional steps have also saved dollars. Those include:
- Contracting with a new health provider, which in turn brought down inmate medical expenses.
- Decreasing meal costs for inmates by contracting with a food service provider.
- Partnering with the Indiana State Department of Health and IU Healthcare to provide HIV testing and treatment at no cost to taxpayers.
GED classes are also offered to inmates at the jail as a way to help them prepare for life outside a jail cell. “A total of 135 inmates have enrolled since May, 2014, with 46 achieving their HSE diplomas. Of these, 37 were employed with 90 days of exiting our program,” said Sheriff McClain.
Additionally, Accuplacer has been administered at the Security Center since 2016. Eleven inmates passed the Accuplacer with scores high enough to enter Ivy Tech classes without taking remediation instruction. “We expect this number to significantly increase in 2018,” the Sheriff advised.
Education is not the only remedy for inmates. Staff of New Creation Ministries teach two “Living Free” recovery classes each week. They have reached over 350 men. From 2015 to the end of 2017, 66 men from the local jail were transported to Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Centers to continue their long journey back from addiction. Of those, 29 graduated, and of those 29, 25 are working and have overcome the brokenness that had engulfed their lives.
“Thanks to the leadership and compassion of our jail chaplains, we have celebrated over 300 baptisms at our jail. We want these people to have the chance to turn themselves around,” stated Sheriff McClain.
He pointed out that Scott County jail is one of 16 in Indiana to receive the Recovery Works Jail Re-Entry Grant. “Facilitated with our mental health provider, LifeSpring, the program is designed to provide inmates with comprehensive assessment, case management services and group skills training and development. Participants are assisted with transitioning to outside recovery services,” the Sheriff related.
Results in 2017 of aggressive addiction recovery and treatment programs provided at the Scott County jail include:
- 50 substance abuse groups provided to male offenders and 33 such groups provided to female offenders.
- An average of five to 10 offenders participate in each group with an average of three groups conducted each week.
- A total of 25 people signed up for Recovery Works while incarcerated. A total of 52 individuals followed up with LifeSpring staff after their release from jail.
As a condition of sentencing in five criminal cases, Individual Recovery Plans were sent to the County Prosecutor’s Office with requests for rehabilitation.
There were 25 females and 73 males who received these services. The estimated number of facilitated placements in sober living homes is listed as 33.
For more information about services available to inmates at the Scott County Security Center, persons may call 812-752-8400.
Courtesy of Green Banner Publications