Wanda English Burnett - Editor
A phone call can change the course of the day at the Sheriffs
Office and that was evidenced as Sheriff Tom Grills talked with
reporters last Friday and answered calls at the same time. On
his fourth week of taking office, the sheriff noted that things
are going well, busy, but well.
Some expected and unexpected personnel changes are taking place
and the new sheriff takes it all in stride. We had a deputy
position open before I took office, he noted, and that
has been filled now with the hiring of Steve Sullivan. Also,
another position was created when Lt. Lee Mathews announced
his retirement after serving the community through the sheriffs
office for 26 years. Jail Commander Bob Curl was hired to take
his place, leaving a vacancy in the jail that hasnt yet
Curl has served as the Jail Commander for the past four years
and has been employed with the office since 2000. He holds a
degree in conservation law from Vincennes University and looks
forward to attending the academy.
Steve Sullivan has been a reserve officer for the sheriffs
office for nearly nine years. While he didnt complete
the degree in conservation law, he did start the course several
years ago. He told how he always wanted to be in law enforcement
and can remember looking at a picture that hangs in the Dearborn
County Sheriffs Department. The picture is of his great
grandparents, who were murdered in that county in 1935. Ive
just always wanted to do this, he noted. Sheriff Grills
praised Sullivan saying he has put in a lot of volunteer hours
- more than most - and looks forward to him serving as a deputy.
Deputy Bill Dramann also gave notice of his retirement on Monday,
January 22, and will be leaving the sheriffs office to
fill a full time position as the Sunman Town Marshal. Hes
been in law enforcement for over 30 years and with the sheriffs
office since May of 1992, serving two terms as sheriff.
Keeping his campaign promise to bring a detective on board at
the sheriffs office, Grills has appointed Corky Houseworth
to fill that position. Houseworth has been with the Ripley County
Sheriffs Office for the past eight years, first as a jailer
and then he moved into a deputy spot in 1999. The new detective
has a degree in science and conservation and has served four
years in the US Air Force. He looks forward to pursuing training
that will enhance his job.
Grills said its important to him to keep his word. What
I said I was going to do needs to match what I do, he
noted. Some goals he has in mind are creating a drug task force,
building the reserve unit, and getting an emergency response
team in place.
His goals include a more proactive approach and he knows they
cost money. But, it will make this office more functional
and in return allow us to serve the community more efficiently,
he stated. He knows he is limited due to funding, but hopes
he can realize some of his goals. The new sheriff plans to pursue
grant avenues for some of the needed funding. I will do
everything I can to make it work, he noted.
What has the new sheriff done in the first few weeks? Well,
according to Grills hes been busy taking care of housekeeping
issues. He says with all things considered the transition went
pretty smoothly and while he focused a lot of energy on problems
at the jail he says the number one problem is discipline. He
noted that the jailers are back in control and he personally
walks through the jail at least once or twice a week to make
sure things are running smoothly. He takes a no-nonsense approach
telling inmates, If you dont like me or my jail,
then Ive done my job.
Grills describes himself as a working sheriff and
noted he has spent a lot of time cleaning the office, intake
area and garage. Weve been restructuring and getting
things cleaned up, he stated.
I go home happy, he concluded, adding being the
sheriff is better than what I thought it might be.
David Pippin will serve as the Chief Deputy for the office and
Randy Holt and Marvin Smith are squad sergeants.
While the sheriff is busy working on things like hiring another
deputy and getting more cars for the reserve program, he says
all-in-all things are going well and he looks forward to serving
the community as the Ripley County Sheriff.