Sheriff: 'We need a plan'; Commissioner: 'We have a plan'

Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard says the situation involving cruisers at the sheriff's office is becoming desperate.
Scott Seitz2
Oct 1, 2012

The situation involving cruisers at the sheriff's office is becoming desperate, Huron County Sheriff Dane Howard says.

"Seven times in four years I've made a request for cruisers," Howard said. "I'm drafting a letter now to send to the county commissioners and that will make an eighth request.

"The commissioners need to develop a plan for the cruisers," Howard added. "It's their responsibility. They are the management and control the purse strings. We can only spend the money we are provided with."

Howard said Friday he's tired of hearing the commissioners gave his budget $50,000 earlier in 2012.

"They said I could spend that money on either cars or manpower," Howard said, adding he wasn't about to lay off deputies.

"I chose to keep people employed," he added. "The commissioners need a plan. It's time for action, in fact, it's way past the time for action. The safety of the public and the deputies is on the line."

Howard said the majority of the fleet is in "poor condition."

The sheriff recently spent $3,500 out of the Furtherance of Justice fund to buy a car from a nearby police department that had 114,000 miles on it and hail damage.

County Commissioner Larry Silcox said Friday afternoon there is a plan for cruisers.

"We bought three cruisers last year and we're going to buy another three this year, but the sheriff wanted personnel," Silcox said. "That was his choice.

"We'll look at this again next year and if the money is there, we will buy three more cruisers," he said. "That is the plan. I don't see it as an issue."

Silcox said that was the same plan that worked with retired Sheriff Richard Sutherland.

Howard along with Capt. Ted Patrick also said Friday the sheriff's office can't get any cooperation out of county mechanic Lon Burton.

The mechanic is supervised by the county commissioners.

Burton was hired by the county in 1999 and earns an annual salary of $39,644, according to auditor's office records.

"We have a couple cars with no radios and asked the county mechanic to install the radios and he refused to do that," Patrick said. "He said that wasn't in his job description. The mechanic isn't apparently being supervised because there have been several months of requests."

The sheriff said he's about to hire an outside to mechanic to equip the cruisers.

"That's at a cost of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money," he said.

After hearing this Friday, Silcox directly called the mechanic.

"That's absolutely untrue," Silcox said. "The mechanic has said a couple times in the past that things weren't in his job description when it clearly is. That was well in the past."

Silcox said he's received no complaints recently about the mechanic from the sheriff.

"I talked to the mechanic and told him anything the sheriff wants him to do, he will do," Silcox said.

Comments

Windy

signer - While the Attorney General is looking into corruption in the HCSO, the Huron County Commissioners' office should be investigated as well. I compare our County Commissioners to the corrupt Jimmy Dimora. Believe me, if I could vote for "NONE OF THE ABOVE", I would!

AnAmerican

Dimora? Exaggerate much do ya? You airport people, slinging wild accusations with nothing to back yourselves up. The HURON COUNTY AIRPORT is not YOURS. Get used to it.

Windy

American - Not only is the Huron County Airport MINE, but it belongs to EVERYONE in this county. Although the airport has received NO budget for several years, OUR tax dollars originally built it. I do not have a plane, but I am intelligent enough to be able to see the big picture and to understand that the airport is a very important piece of local infrastructure. Almost 100 businesses benefit from it. Too bad you have been fooled by the Commissioners' BS as they pursue their hidden agendas.

Dusty

I'm starting to worry about Dunlap's close ties with Dane as well. I had high hopes for him in the begening. Now I think he may be in Danes pocket.

Windy

Dusty - Do we vote for Silcox who IS in Bader's pocket or Dunlap who MAY be in Dane's pocket? Is there such a thing as a public servant anymore?

Dusty

I really don't care for the airport. I think Bader will make better use of the land than a bunch of fly boys. They can move to Wakeman or Willard to fly. Silcox it is! Thanks!

Windy

Dusty - Way to ignore all the OTHER local businesses who benefit from the airport being in Norwalk, right where it is. What will you do when they all go belly up and Bader packs up and moves anyway, taking his SEASONAL business to another county? Sure, you go ahead and put all your eggs in one basket, but I'm not falling for it.

Dusty

The Wakeman airport is 15 min. Away I don't see that as being a problem.

Windy

In the business world, time is money.

Dusty

If they got money for a plane 15 mins isn't going to break them, you must be one of those airport people.

Windy

No, but I am able to understand the big picture.
General Aviation's Contributions

propman

Dusty,
Wakeman has a shorter runway and can't handle the larger business jets.
How long to get to Norwalk when there is a big event at Summit?
Is there rental cars availible at Wakeman? NO
Just because you decide to be willfully blind doesn't mean you can blind others as well.

AnAmerican

Pocket is only the half of it

ohiogirl99

again i am not sure why any cruisers are going home with anybody including road patrol; the cars don't need the additional miles and wear and tear put on them from guys getting a free ride off the tax payer dime; they can drive their own vehicles back and forth to work; and i am really not sure why any jail personal would driving a cruiser back forth to work either; it is stupid stunts like this as to why i see the commissioners don't want to give him more money, he does nothing to try and improve the situation in which he has. instead of using charity money for all these outposts building that aren't needed and stop going to lunch everyday with multiple officers at the restraunts on the county dime everyday that money could used for cruisers. also instead of using multiple cruisers transporting prisoners back and forth to court maybe get a van and take them all in one vehicle and maybe stop having your transport officers taking home vehicles to really they need their cruiser in the driveway and getting a free ride off the tax payer back and forth to work. let them buy their own gas in their own vehicles like everybody else does

arnmcrmn

It comes down to this and this is just the facts and if you fail to realize this then its on you. The reason cars go home is because with a sub par numbered staff because of budget concerns, if a call comes in that needs a quick response, the officers can respond much quicker. Imagine driving from Willard to Norwalk to get your patrol car, then drive to New London for a county emergency. It would take forever and nowadays could easily cost a life with all the nut jobs out there. The money spent going to and from work with these cars is really peanuts. Its about response time and being on call....bottom line. Highway Patrol officers that are on call a lot do the exact same thing.

Lillie Chaos

@arn You are right to a point..... I would not question the Sheriff if there was any support or availablity of his services. In fact this is the ONLY sheriff I have ever taken issue with. I sincerely hope you never have a break in or people wandering around your place. Have you ever stepped outside at night and found some skinny guy going through your vehicles? Have you ever looked out your window and saw 2 cars side by side on the road? Ever walked the res and watched the same thing or a "fisherman" reach in his bait bucket and hand "bait" to another person who then leaves? Only have to be semi-observiant to realize this county is in real tough shape. Perhaps you feel "safe" but many voters to not feel protected by any stretch of the imagination but we are still paying high taxes. Yes, many nut jobs out there and we need our sheriff's department to be available and visable but it absolutely does not work that way!! The theives and the addicts have no fear because they know they are safe in rural areas. When was the last time you saw a sheriff car on patrol? Our phantom protection is my complaint. Give yourself another few years of observing the situation. You will understand. Driving through any local town Norwalk, Willard, New London....even Plymouth and you see police every time you turn around--I truly never see a sheriff car unless I drive by Shady Lane.

Dusty

The only ones that MIGHT get called out is detectives. If they call SWAT out the van and equipment is in Norwalk. If there is a need for quick backup the citys and villages can back them up till the deputys get there. I myself would like to see the county do a car count just to see how many vehicles they have in service and out of service. All the sheriff's vehicles.

Contango

Doesn't Ford or one of the other "American" auto companies have a leasing program for law enforcement?

With all the govt. and NFP foundation grants floating around, it's surprising that there isn't some 'free' money out there to be had.

Besides, according to the article, Mr. Silcox said that the County has purchased cruisers - what's the problem?

Brock Lee

their was a grant but the comissioners wait to long and they pay full price

Dusty

I think Howard waited to long getting back to them was the problem.

AnAmerican

Every Elected Official is solely responsible for their own budget. This Sheriff has the largest budget EVER and yet it is still not enough.
After crying wolf, other departments gave him additional funds out of their own budgets (making it 4.7) yet still he complains. No one, not the Commissioners or anyone has anything to do with how he spends his 4.1 to 4.7 million budget.
If he is short somewhere, it is by his fault and design. He needs to be held accountable for why he is shorting road patrol and other priority areas (while transport and jail staff are driving home vehicles, just to name one example).

Whitebuffalo

Silcox, Bauer, & Hintz. These guys are always in the paper getting negative publicity. What does that tell you when the comissioners cannot get along with anybody but Summitt???? By the way, a mechanic is not qualified to properly install a police radio. I know since I'm an RF technician of 23 years and a USAF ground radio communications specialist with an ASEE. Doesn't the sheriff have some nice cars to make into DARE cruisers or does the OSP get them before he finds the drugs. LOL

Whitebuffalo

P.S. If your paying "thousands of dollars" to install radio electronics on the cruisers, YOU ARE GETTING RIPPED OFF!!!!

AnAmerican

The negative publicity is from a few rich flyboys who have forgotton that the Airport is taxpayer owned and not their personal playground. You tiny few live and breathe these blogs and are constantly malinging the commissioners every little chance you get.

Windy

American - The Commissioners do not need any help from anyone. Their repeated misuse of taxpayer funds proves that they are totally inept.

2008HD

Pretty soon Howard is going to want to buy a cruiser for everyone of the employees @ HCSO. Bottom line is, every employee owns a vehicle so why can't all of them drive their OPV including Howard. That would eliminate the gas crisis @ the S.O..

hit the road jack

Since 911 is funded by us cell phone users and cell phone users alone,I cannot for the life of me figure why they don't have the state of art equipment, hell doesn't it cost every CELL PHONE user in huron county a couple bucks a month?

AnAmerican

Call any one of the three Commissioners, they'll be happy to answer this question for you.

propman

It is not just cell phones that pay that tax. It is on landline phones too.

arnmcrmn

I think what many of you fail to realize is what is going on today in our society. 20 years ago, I rarely saw a sheriff but a few times a year. Drugs, crime, stabbings, killings, Theft.....it has all been on the steady and quick incline, especially over the last 5-6 years. That requires more calls, more man hours, more driving...etc. Plus factor in gas prices which can EASILY chew a big chunk into a budget such as this. Its a bigger picture that most of you post on but do not fully understand. I get it, its frustrating, but being on a board of directors as I am, when the money isn't there it isn't there and you have to ask for more to keep things floating.

What you guys should really be focusing your attention on is our judicial system in Huron County. We have one that slaps multiple drug users on the wrist and lets them back out to do the same illegal stuff the next day. We have to make this county a county where drug dealers and users stay out of. That does not happen with the S. Department. That starts at the very top.

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