Crothersville City Council Approves Addition of Fifth Police Officer

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CROTHERSVILLE — This spring, two of Crothersville’s police officers will attend the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield.

This will leave two more full-time officers and a few reserve officers to patrol the town and respond to calls in the area.

Sometimes they may have to travel elsewhere for most of the day to work on a file. Also, if an agent asks for help, other agencies may not be able to help because they are busy or understaffed.

To get through these circumstances, department leaders recently asked the Crothersville City Council to hire a fifth full-time officer.

The board granted that wish, voting 4-0. Councilor Terry Richey was absent.

Deputy Chief Jonathon Tabor said on the days he worked he had the assistance of two reserve officers. When Agent Levi Caudill is working, however, the reservists work full time and are unable to help.

“For him, it’s dangerous. Even in a town like Crothersville, I wouldn’t want to be alone,” Councilman Aaron Mays said.

Tabor said last summer he was alone in a house with an armed and barricaded person for 14 minutes until county officers arrived to help him.

“Fourteen minutes is a long time,” Tabor said.

He also said it was easier to call an outside agency for help with an appeal, but with more in-depth major cases it doesn’t work that way anymore.

“I can call and say, ‘Call me if you need help, but we can’t take this case off you because we’re overbooked,'” Tabor said. “We are not the only ones short of staff. All the other agencies around are understaffed, so everyone’s plates are full.

Tabor said he or Chief Matt Browning might be working on a case involving children and have to spend an entire day in Bloomington, Madison or Indianapolis.

“It gets me out of this town, but I can’t give the case away. For this to work, we need some extra help,” Tabor said.

If they forward calls to other agencies, Browning said people might think Crothersville officers don’t want to do anything about the problem.

“We like to work whatever we can,” he said.

Browning said that in 2021, Crothersville officers answered 1,726 calls and another 930 were taken by officers from the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, bringing the total to 2,656. To compare, he said that the Brownstown Police Department, which has eight officers and a higher population, received 2,626 calls last year.

The annual number of calls also continues to increase. Browning said in 2012 that Crothersville only answered about 600 calls.

Mays moved a motion to approve the hiring of a fifth police officer, but council vice-chairman Jamy Greathouse suggested holding an executive session so the council, Tabor and Browning could meet to s make sure it’s within the city’s budget and that the department is ready to begin the hiring process. .

Then it could be presented to the board at the March meeting to consider approval.

“We’ve had this conversation several times,” Greathouse said of adding a fifth officer. “The problem is that it’s not about knowing that they need it. It’s a question of how you go about it. »

A few years ago, the department had three officers and the board approved increasing it to four with the goal of making it five at some point.

“The PD has come a long way with compensation and staffing and equipment and all those sorts of things, but there’s a lot more to it than just saying, ‘Let’s hire,'” Greathouse said. “I agree 100% that we need to hire. We could use another officer, there’s no doubt in my mind. I just want to make sure we have all our ducks in a row to put another person in there like that.

Clerk-Treasurer Danieta Foster said adding a fifth officer would require a resolution for additional appropriation, but it remains within the city budget.

Browning said he has requests on file, and Greathouse said Browning could start going through them while the board and Foster meet to make sure everything is lined up on their side.

Councilman Chad Wilson then seconded Mays’ motion, and it passed.

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