OTTAWA — Putnam County Sheriff Brian Siefker and Chief Deputy Verl Warnimont discussed possible savings and public safety enhancements a video arraignment system in the Putnam County Courthouse could provide during a budget meeting with the Putnam County Commissioners Tuesday.
There have been concerns raised from the public about Sheriff deputies transporting multiple prisoners through the courthouse, both on the elevator and up the stairs. County Commissioner Michael Lammers said that larger prisoners and multiple prisoners could shove a deputy down the stairs or overpower them in the elevator, creating an incident.
“What’s the hold up on the video arraignment?” he asked.
Siefker responded that the Sheriff’s Office was ready to implement the program, but they were waiting to see if the judges would be interested in the proposal. The Sheriff’s Office is also interested in implementing the program for Hancock County prisoners since some are held in the Putnam County Jail. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Office sends a single deputy to Putnam County to pick up any prisoners awaiting arraignment or court appearances and transports them back to Findlay.
The video arraignment program would not only save Putnam County money, but it would also save money for Hancock County, since deputies would not have to drive back and forth for court appearances, Siefker said.
Lammers said the commissioners holds budget meetings with the Sheriff’s Office because their office consists of 33 percent of the county budget each year.
Last year, the Sheriff’s Office and the jail exceeded its original $3.3 million budget by slightly over $249,000 due to the purchase of new vehicles and other unforeseen costs. The initial Putnam County Sheriff’s Office and Jail budget for 2018 is not yet complete.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.