The Starke County Council approved $50,000 to fund jailers for the Starke County Jail. Initially, Sheriff Oscar Cowen was instructed by the commissioners to pull two road officers to cover the depleted jail staff, but they quickly corrected that request when Sheriff Cowen pointed out that the road officer’s pay and jailer’s pay did not match.
He also said that officers who have been through the academy would not want to become jailers, even if the pay was similar, because that was not what they were trained to do.
In making the recommendation, Commission President Dan Bridegroom said, “We cannot put the safety of our citizens in jeopardy. Those patrolmen need to stay on the road.”
The jailers will be employed on a part-time basis to eliminate the need to provide benefits. Two jailers will be on staff around the clock at the jail and the road officers will continue patrolling the county.
Cowen assured the council that with the $50,000 increase, he will keep everything else in his budget at last year’s level.