By Leah Sander
WARSAW —The Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office has formally certified its no chokehold policy with government leaders.
At Wednesday, Jan. 20’s Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Merit Board meeting, Sgt. Travis Shively made the announcement as part of his report. Police departments have to go through the formal process in order to continue to receive federal money.
That was due to an executive order signed by former President Donald Trump in June 2020.
“We had to go through and certify and send information down saying that we no longer – not that we ever did – that we don’t have chokehold, that’s not allowed unless in lethal force,” said Shively.
“That has to be in the policy, which it is, and that our policy abides by all state and federal laws, which it does.”
The use of some police tactics gained prominence in the news last year after George Floyd, a Minnesota man, died after a police officer knelt on his neck.
According to The Washington Post, at least 32 of the nation’s 65 largest police departments have banned or strengthened restrictions on the use of neck restraints since the death of Floyd.
In other business, the board:
- Heard from Chief Deputy Shane Bucher that the department is still taking applications to fill two positions.
“We have quite a few inquiries coming out of Illinois,” said Bucher. He said that was related to Illinois putting more restrictions on police.
“So, there’s a mad dash of a lot of people wanting to transfer across state lines,” he said.
Bucher said an officer is retiring in the spring, which will create another position to fill as well.
- Heard from Sheriff Kyle Dukes that officers have been able to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they so choose.
Dukes said officers were split in the decision, with 50% either having received the vaccine or wanting to and 50% choosing not to get one.
- Heard from Jail Matron Kris Woodard that approximately more than 50% of officers have had COVID-19 at some point in time. As of Wednesday’s meeting, there were no current cases.
- Heard from Shively that the office plans to have active shooter training for student resource officers in February.
The office is inviting SROs from neighboring counties to take part too if they wish, he said. It’s to be at Milford Elementary School.
- Heard from Shively two officers are going through training through the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in Plainfield.
They’re taking some of the training remotely and will eventually do in-person training at the academy. Shively said two others still need to do training.
- Heard from Shively one of the department’s K-9s is out after an injury.
That happened off-duty, said Shively. She’s had surgery and won’t be able to be used again for at least another month. He thinks she might return to her full duty by summer.
- Heard from Shively that more protective body armor has been purchased for officers.