Chester Richardson III
EMERGENCY: DIAL 911
The current sheriff for Owen County is Chester Richardson III. Sheriff Richardson was elected to the position of sheriff in the Fall, 2006 general election. The Owen County Sheriff's Department currently employs 31 employees. The personnel consists of 9 deputies, 1, courthouse security officer, 9 jailers, 7 communication officers, 3 cooks, 1 secretary, and a matron. In addition to the regular full-time personnel there are also 15 reserve deputies.
This is definitely different than just 30 years ago when the sheriff's department consisted of the sheriff, one deputy, and the sheriff's wife. The sheriff's wife served as matron, cook, and communications officer. As the population of Owen County has grown, so has the need for law enforcement personnel.
The Owen County Sheriff's Department road officers patrol 712 road miles of county roads and highways which include 450.7 square miles of Owen County roads and highways. In addition to patrolling, the deputies also investigate traffic accidents, theft, burglary, domestic disputes, serve warrants, serve court papers, and of course, make arrests.
In order to be up-to-date on the newest laws and police procedures, the deputies attend classes given by the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. In-house training is also provided to assist the deputies in their duties. Each and every deputy takes pride in their position as police officers and perform their duties with the citizens of Owen County in mind.
In addition to the road deputies, the sheriff's department also has a 2 K-9 units. One K-9 is trained to sniff out drugs and for tracking purposes. The other K-9 is trained to sniff out drugs, track, protect officers and apprehend suspects.
The Owen County Security Center was dedicated in March, 1987. The sheriff when the building was built is was Sheriff Harley Melton. The new facility was built on the west end of Spencer, replacing the old jail that was located just a half block north of the courthouse.
The Owen County Security Center (OCSC) is a 66-bed facility that also accommodates the sheriff's office, an administrative office, chief deputy office, squad room, jailer's station, communications center, recreation room, and a kitchen. The OCSC has 24-hour-a-day surveillance cameras that keep a constant eye on both the inside and outside of the facility. In addition to the above listed offices, there is also an attached sallyport where prisons are unloaded from vehicles. This sallyport is completely secure to keep prisoners from fleeing an officer and trying to escape while being escorted from the police car to the jail. The OCSC is equipped with computers and other modern-day equipment in order to keep the facility an up-to-date law enforcement building. Each office of the OCSC is described in detail below.
The jail division is, of course, the place where the prisoners are incarcerated. The jailer's station is equipped with televison monitors so that surveillance cameras that are located in each cell block can be monitored. In addition, there are intercom systems in each cell block so that the jailer can communicate with any subject in the cell block. Besides the regular cell blocks, there is also a padded cell and a drunk tank. Unlike the cells in the old jail where each cell had to be locked by a key, the cells in the new facility can be locked/unlocked with either a key or electronically by a master control panel. Like the rest of the department, the jailer's station has a computer which the jailers use to keep up-to-date information on all prisoners such as descriptions, bond information, crime committed, medical needs, etc. Each jailer has attended a program at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy to be certified as jailers by the State of Indiana.
The communication center is the place where all calls and complaints are received and dispatched to the appropriate person. The communication officers duties consist of answering 5 administrative lines, 4 emergency 911 lines, helping all people who walk-in to the OCSC with a question or problem, running the NCIC/IDACS computer, operating all outside doors and intercom systems from a master control panel, and communicating over two different two-way radios. The communcation officers conduct the dispatching duties for the sheriff's department, Spencer police, Gosport police, the EMS service, and nine in-county volunteer fire departments consisting of Cataract, Wayne-Harrison-Montgomery, Gosport, Patricksburg, Spencer, Owen Valley, Clay Township, Coal City and Franklin Township. In addition three out-of-county fire departments (Poland, Cloverdale and Bowling Green) are also dispatched through the Owen County Sheriff's Department. Each communication officer is certified as an IDACS terminal operator by the State of Indiana.
In order to be able to get the help you need when calling with an emergency, please remember to do the following: Remain calm, tell the dispatcher what the problem is, give accurate directions, and stay on the line until the dispatcher tells you to hang up.
The administrative section of the OCSC includes the support staff desk, the matron desk, the sheriff's office, the chief deputy's office and the squad room. The administrative section is where handgun permits are issued, accident reports are held for pickup, property foreclosure sales are conducted, and all accounting duties related to the operation of the sheriff's department are performed. The sheriff's office is for the sheriff to use to perform administrative duties, talk with citizens, and to conduct business that needs to be done without interruptions. The chief deputy's office and squad room is where the officers fill out their reports, make telephone calls, receives updated information on cases, and conduct numerous other duties when not on patrol.
All meals for the prisoners incarcerated in the OCSC are prepared in-house. No meals are catered in. There are three cooks in charge of preparing the meals and overseeing the trustees who help with the meals. The meals are all approved by the State of Indiana and are designed to provide a well-balanced diet. The kitchen staff prepares between 180-200 meals per day.
The sheriff and employees of the Owen County Sheriff's Department donate hundreds of hours each year to the community. A few of the items that the sheriff's department personnel are involved with include the D.A.R.E program, community crime watch programs, participating in several community festival parades, Owen County Fair and various other community-oriented projects.
The Owen County Sheriff's Department would like to take this opportunity to remind you to NOT DRINK AND DRIVE!