LIMA — Members of the Lima Kiwanis Club were among the first to hear the news Tuesday: the Allen County Sheriff’s Office is expanding its ranks.
The Kiwanians were privy to the announcement because the guest speaker for the club’s monthly meeting was Sheriff Matt Treglia, who said his office on Wednesday would swear in four new deputies. That brings to seven the number of new hires Treglia has brought on board in the 10 months he has served as sheriff.
“It’s my job to pick the very best people to work for you on our streets,” Treglia said.
He also told club members of another addition at the Sheriff’s Office that was unveiled earlier in the day. Treglia said a new body scanner went online at the county jail Tuesday morning — a move that is expected to greatly reduce, if not eliminate entirely, the amount of contraband being smuggled into the jail.
The new piece of equipment, which comes with an approximate price tag of $200,000, will scan every prisoner entering the jail, Treglia said. Previously, inmates entering the jail were subjected to a strip search, but not a cavity search. And drugs, regrettably, were finding their way into the facility.
“We had a huge problem with contraband getting into our jail,” the sheriff said.
The new scanner will detect illicit drugs that have been ingested by inmates or tucked away in various orifices.
“We’ve already had two people brought in [to the jail] who saw the new machine and just handed over the heroin they had on their persons,” the sheriff said.
Treglia talked to Kiwanis Club members about several aspects of the Sheriff’s Office, which operates on an annual budget of some $8 million. Because expenditures have been kept in check this year, the sheriff said, the unused portion of the budget should allow three or four additional deputies to be hired by year’s end. Personnel previously hired this year was limited to filling positions vacated through retirements or resignations.
Treglia concluded his talk on a seasonal note, warning shoppers — particularly women — to exercise caution while out and about this holiday season.
“Ladies, get your keys out of your purse before you leave the mall; keep your head up as you make your way to the car. Don’t look like a victim,” Treglia said. “And if someone approaches you with a gun or a knife and tells you to get into their car … don’t do it. Stay and fight with all your might. Stay right where you are; you’ll be better off in the long run.”