Kane County sheriff announces major changes to patrol and jail operations

  • New Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain announced major changes to patrol operations and the handling of inmates at the county jail Thursday.

      New Kane County Sheriff Ron Hain announced major changes to patrol operations and the handling of inmates at the county jail Thursday. James Fuller | Staff Photographer

 
By Jim Fuller
jfuller@dailyherald.com
Updated 12/13/2018 6:36 PM

Two weeks after being sworn in as the new Kane County sheriff, Ron Hain announced major changes Thursday in the way deputies will patrol the county and correctional officers will run the jail.

Hain said patrol officers use mapping dating back to the 1960s for how they police the area and it's time to change that. He said he is working with dispatchers and the county's GIS department to create a new, township-based patrol format. The changes will see deputies assigned to individual townships as dedicated patrol beats.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The bad news is Hain believes patrol deputies need as many as 24 new squad cars because "fleet management has been relatively ignored the last three years," he said. Depending on what model the county chooses, that many vehicles could cost up to $960,000. Hain said he believes phasing in hybrid fuel vehicles would provide savings over time.

Money is a question mark for the department heading into 2019. Hain said the department stopped reporting its spending and income to the county finance department in August. He said he resumed that reporting and hopes to get a solid feel for where the department will close its books for 2018. Best estimates so far put the department $300,000 in the red.

The jail will see even more in-depth changes.

Hain announced the hiring of a new administrative director who will focus on connecting local businesses to jail inmates.

"We need to provide opportunities to the people in our jail," Hain said. "We are going to have exit programming so that we're not just pushing them out of the jail to create their own economy and end up high back in our jail. We're developing a true correctional model. The whole point is, 'Don't come back, folks.'"

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Hain is also working with the state's attorney's office to create as many as four new diversion programs designed to provide corrective options that don't include putting people in jail for first offenses. Heroin addiction and mental health are two areas where such programs could be better used, Hain believes.

"I walk through the jail at least once a day, and every single day I see someone doubled over going through heroin withdrawal," Hain said. "And of the 511 inmates in the jail last month, 126 were exhibiting mental health issues."

Hain said he will also hire more correctional officers to ease problems in recent years with double shifts fueling $700,000 in overtime.

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