Four Michiana sheriffs explain what the job takes

What does a sheriff do? Well, four Michiana sheriffs spoke about that and more on WNIT’s show "Politically Speaking" Sunday.

When WNIT interviewed a few people from the community, some thought of sheriffs as men that wear the uniform and the hat and others said they are people who police rural areas more than cities, but it's a job that requires a little bit of skill when it comes to campaigning because in order to become a county sheriff you need to be elected.

“You should be able to elect who you want in there and not have a small group of people appoint that person to that office,” says Berrien County Sheriff Paul Bailey.

“To be elected our loyalty is to the people. If we are appointed our loyalty could be to that of the commissioners or the council or in the case of a city police chief, his loyalty could be to that mayor,” says St. Joseph County Sheriff Michael Grzegorek

As soon as they are elected, their job isn't that easy.

“We not only have all the divisions of a police department that a city or town police dept. might have, we also are in control of the jails, the courts, civil process, warrants,” continues Grzegorek

The list of duties goes on but safety is a huge part of their job. They say when incidents happen showing their normal way of doing things are no longer safe, they change it. For example, the St. Joe County Jail changed their process when an inmate escaped in a bread truck in April.

“What we have done since that time is we have changed the process in which that takes place. When the truck driver is coming in they would be met by one of our staff members. The staff member and the truck drivers now will unload the trucks then the doors are locked back down,” adds Grzegorek.

They continue to use technology to make visitations safer as well.

“It keeps contraband from the public side from coming into the jail and keeps us from having to move inmates from one place to another,” explains Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers.

But their mission to help keep the community safe extends to those they have in jail.

“Our jobs has really become and big part of taking care of the people that are coming to us and trying to help them with their problems whether its substance abuse or whatever the case may be and get them to re-enter society and be active and be good participants of society,” says Grzegorek.

Another big topic discussed was the government shutdown and how it is affecting them. They say in spite of it all, the essential employees are still working but they hope it ends soon.


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