The Starke County Sheriff’s Department will soon have a receptionist in addition to the full-time matron after action last week by the Starke County Council and Commissioners. Sheriff Bill Dulin sought permission to add an employee to process civil papers, answer the telephone, greet visitors and provide general clerical support to the department. Some of that work has been done by dispatchers in the past, but Dulin advised the council and commissioners the state jail inspector could cut funds to the 911 center if they are caught doing work not that’s not part of their statutory job description. The county council discussed the issue and decided it’s not worth the risk, especially since funds for the new position are already in the sheriff’s budget. Dulin also noted the floor plan for the new jail is different, and 911 center and main entrance are in separate parts of the building. The matron will continue handling sheriff’s sales and processing payroll and claims for the sheriff’s department.
The new employee will work 30 hours per week. Job requirements for the receptionist include a high school diploma, knowledge of clerical and administrative procedures, computer skills and stress tolerance.
Dulin also told the council he is working with the state on a staffing analysis for the new jail, since it will be able to accommodate more prisoners than the existing facility when it opens this spring. However, the impact of the state sentencing overhaul is still unknown. Under the new guidelines, the lowest level convicted felons will serve their sentences in county jails instead of in prison.