OTTAWA — The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office has the same number of employees it did more than 30 years ago, according to Putnam County Sheriff Mike Chandler.
And with 18 full-time employees, the Sheriff's Office in 2012 handled 6,872 complaints and dispatched 3,090 emergency medical calls and 6,300 fire calls.
“We also handle dispatching for the 12 police departments in the county,” Chandler told Ottawa Chamber of Commerce members Tuesday at the Red Pig Inn. “Last year, we handled 6,815 calls for these departments. We have 12 road deputies."
He said there are 480 square miles in Putnam County, including 188 miles of state highways, 327 miles of county roads and 617 miles of township roads.
“We normally have four road deputies out at a time,” Chandler said. “That means they are covering 120 square miles each.” Chandler said all Sheriff's Office employees do a monumental job.
On top of all that work, Chandler's office operates the 76-bed Putnam County Jail, which replaced a 10-bed jail in 2002 and earned the county $365,000 in 2012 by housing out-of-county inmates.
“When you look at all the calls we handle and all the area we cover, it is a huge task.” Chandler said. “We all know the county is scrambling constantly under budget constraints.”
Sheriff's Office programs
Chandler discussed upcoming programs, including a prescription drug drop-off, Operation Lifesaver and a building at the Putnam County Fair.
The prescription drug drop-off this year is set for April 27. There will be two drop-off locations, including one in Continental in the morning and in Kalida in the afternoon.
Chandler said the Operation Lifesaver program is a state-funded program that provides GPS tracking bracelets for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other medical conditions that may cause them to wander off.
“This will make it so much easier for our office to locate those individuals,” Chandler said. “There is no cost for us. The state funds everything, including supplies we will need.”
Chandler said the sheriff’s trailer at the fairgrounds was damaged in June's windstorm. He said a facility is being built to replace the trailer.
“Our booth at the fair will probably be different this year,” Chandler said. “We are looking to change our image.”