MIAMI COUNTY — Due to open this summer, the third pod at the county’s incarceration facility will open later than anticipated as the sheriff’s office continues to hire corrections officers.
At their meeting Tuesday, the Miami County Commissioners met with Chief Deputy Dave Duchak to discuss the opening of the third pod, which will house female inmates.
Approved last December, the third pod was expected to open this summer, Commissioner Richard Cultice said. The commissioners expressed concern over the delay.
According to Duchak, the pod was on target to open earlier this summer, but difficulties with hiring put the opening behind schedule.
The facility is still short on corrections officers, Duchak said, with only 44 of the target 52 officers budgeted. The sheriff’s office has made several new hires, which would have boosted the department to the needed number, he said, but several corrections officers have left in recent months to take jobs as patrol officers in other departments.
Losing corrections officers to patrol jobs is common, Duchak said, adding that many police officers get their start in corrections.
He said that he has never seen police departments and sheriff’s offices hiring at such high rates as they are currently, something he attributes in part to departments returning to their pre-recession staffing levels.
“Law enforcement is hiring across the board,” he said. “There’s a lot of job openings.”
The department is currently in the process of vetting several candidates, Duchak said, but it does take several months to vet prospective hires.
“We want to get the pod open as fast as anyone, we just want to make sure it’s done correctly,” Duchak said.
Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office has been working with the courts to find options other than incarceration for non-violent, female offenders charged with misdemeanors.
The commissioners also asked Duchak about his stance on body cameras, which are becoming more common across the country.
“We’re all for body cameras,” he said, though he added that the sheriff’s office will not be purchasing them for some time.
According to Duchak, the department is waiting to see how the state legislature will address public records requests for body camera footage.
He also pointed out that camera manufacturers are still developing new models, and the department would prefer to wait until a model is released that suits their needs.
Reach reporter Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.