By Leah Sander
WARSAW — Shaun Mudd and Joel Popenfoose should be switching up their duties within the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office soon.
At its meeting on Thursday, Sept. 14, the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Merit Board heard from KCSO Public Information Officer Sgt. Doug Light that Mudd and Popenfoose should be the new student resource officers with the Tippecanoe Valley School Corp. and Warsaw Community Schools, respectively. That’s pending approval from each of the corporation’s school boards.
If the process moves forward as planned, Mudd would join fellow KCSO Deputy Rick Shepherd as a Valley SRO. Mudd would oversee Mentone and Akron Elementary Schools and Tippecanoe Valley Middle School, with Shepherd at the high school.
Popenfoose would monitor Leesburg, Claypool and Madison Elementary Schools, with several Warsaw Police Department officers serving other WCS buildings.
Light, a former SRO with the Wawasee Community School Corp., will oversee all the SROs, including his replacement at Wawasee, Craig Summers.
The county will pay 20% of the officers’ salaries, with the school corporations covering the rest. Mudd and Popenfoose will have normal patrols when school is out for the summer.
Kosciusko County Sheriff Jim Smith said the two, if approved by the school boards, should start in their new roles Monday, Oct. 2.
“I think they both will do phenomenal jobs, so we’re excited,” said Light.
The board also heard from KCSO Patrol Commander Lt. Mike Mulligan that with Mudd and Popenfoose potentially moving into new roles and Capt. Travis Marsh leaving the department, the KCSO is working to hire three new officers.
Regarding those hired into the KCSO, Mulligan said Jacob Anderson just completed his Indiana Law Enforcement Academy training and Matthew Francis is at the ILEA currently.
“And it’s appearing that two of the hires, Bradley Gonzales and Brandon Ewing … are going … probably (to the academy) Jan. 2,” said Mulligan.
In other business, the board:
- Heard from Light the total calls for service in August were 2,037.
- Heard from Light the KCSO is planning to be at Main Street Warsaw’s Third Friday in downtown Warsaw on Friday, Sept. 15; Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory’s Family Safety Day in Warsaw’s Central Park on Saturday, Sept. 16; and ONE Warsaw’s Celebrating Us event in downtown Warsaw on Saturday, Sept. 23.
- Heard from Smith, after Merit Board member Tony Garza posed the question, that Kosciusko County Jail numbers “were hovering around … 286 to 290 out of 305 beds.” “Work release, we’re staying right around 75 to 77 (out of ideally 80),” Smith added.