County makes changes to sheriff, highway departments


Members of the Jackson County Council approved two requests for salary changes at two departments during a recent meeting.

Sheriff Rick Meyer requested a change in personnel at his department that would move dispatcher Ben Cramer into an information technology role. Cramer would be replaced by another dispatcher, but that salary would be paid for through the 911 board budget so it would not affect the general fund.

Also, Highway Superintendent Jerry Ault requested the council add funding to give a raise to create a paving crew leader. The position would be paid $1 an hour more, according to the proposal.

Heather Blaker, president of the 911 board, told county commissioners during a recent meeting that her board already funds multiple dispatchers’ salaries at the sheriff’s department.

Meyer said Cramer would work on the department’s technology needs, including updating software to file reports with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He said the agency has recently changed how it wants local law enforcement agencies to file reports.

Cramer also will help with technology issues in police cruisers.

The 911 board could have funded the position, but it would have required a contracted vendor, which would not have worked for the department given the nature of work, Meyer said.

“Sometimes, we have issues at hours where a vendor would not be available quickly,” he said.

Cramer also will help the department in its pursuit of grants and still do some part-time dispatching when needed. Meyer said his office is exploring a variety of grants, including one for a K-9 officer and trailer for the department.

"There are a number of grants available that we could get where we would not have to use any, or at least less, county dollars for the things we want to pursue," he said.

Chief Deputy Dustin Steward has been writing those grants, but Meyer said he would prefer not to have an officer who could be on the road write the grants.

The department recently was awarded a $39,000 traffic safety grant from the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute.

The 911 board also is positioned to fund the dispatcher for the long term with a fund balance of $725,000, Meyer said.

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