Sheriff’s term marked by changemm |

Sheriff’s term marked by changemm

JENNIFER HUFFMANsummit daily news
Summit County Sheriff John Minor

SUMMIT COUNTY – Sheriff John Minor knows that change can be a good thing. After taking office in 2004, Minor realized many of the Sheriff’s Office policies were outdated and in need of some polishing. “I couldn’t find an update on these policies since 1991,” Minor said. “We basically started with a blank sheet.”The new policies manual, which is still in the draft stage, covers everything from conduct and evidence procedures to community relations and discipline.Minor said the new policies will set guidelines for Sheriff’s Office employees, so they will know unequivocally what is expected and will be held accountable for the policies.

The manual was sent to supervisors within the Sheriff’s Department for a 30-day review period. Minor hopes to have the policies completed in the next 30 days.Employees must know the red policies in the manual verbatim. They have to have a working knowledge of the yellow ones and just have to know where the white policies are located in the manual.The policies also include a section on ethical-based decision making, which is a fairly new part of law enforcement, according to Minor. It consists of a series of questions like “Is the intended action ethical?”, “Is it legal?”, “Is it moral?” If the answer to all of the questions is yes, then employees are instructed to act.Minor, whose office door remains open when he’s in, said he wanted to make the command staff more approachable by increasing outreach into the community.

He also established the citizens’ advisory committee, which is composed of 23 members from all over the county, shortly after entering office.”The committee’s been really instrumental,” he said. “I intend to keep my election promise I made. I said if (the committee) doesn’t approve of my performance at the beginning of 2006, then I won’t run again. I believe in accountability.”Another important change in the department is the mobile data computers that will soon be making their way into patrol cars. This will allow deputies to type up their reports in the field. Minor said it will be another 6 to 8 weeks before the computers are installed and active.Minor was also given an allowance in his 2005 budget for two additional positions in his department, including a captain and a position in the jail. He noted that retention in his office continues to be a problem as the Sheriff’s Department is the lowest paid law enforcement entity in the county.

Minor noted that many of the department’s changes will be transparent to the community, but citizen’s will be able to see an increased level of professionalism.”The only constant in the Sheriff’s Office is change,” Minor said. “We’re constantly changing to meet the community’s needs.”Jennifer Huffman can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 248, or at

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