GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commissioners recently approved funding for the addition of one new full-time investigator to the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office staff as well as elevating a Gallia-Meigs Major Crime Task Force member to full-time status.
Commissioners had considered increasing full-time investigators earlier in the year but wanted to make certain that revenues would be compatible with an increase in funding for law enforcement given budget constraints and meeting other departmental financial obligations. This will make three full-time county investigators with one dedicated to major and organized crimes like narcotics trafficking cases. Det. Chris Gruber is the current full-time investigator with the sheriff’s office while the financial details are still being worked out for the remaining two. Task force operatives often remain nameless due to the sensitive nature of their work.
“The sheriff had asked us earlier in the year during our budget discussions about adding investigators,” said Commissioner David Smith. “We all know we have a crime problem. In my position, it’s always been ‘if’ and ‘when’ we get to the point in our budget we feel we can forward additional law enforcement to address that problem we all know is going on in our community. That’s what we would do. That’s where we are today.”
Smith said he felt the county’s financial condition was more sound after economic woes in recent years and that the county had “worked hard to get there.” He felt with some more breathing room given to county expenses, adding investigators “was the best use of those funds.”
Commission President Harold Montgomery shared some of Smith’s concern and further voiced that, after reviewing finances, the addition of full-time officers was not just something to be considered for the current fiscal year or the next. Commissioners want the added investigator positions to also remain financially sustainable and feel the county should be able to do that.
Commissioners added the full-time investigation positions in time to correspond with National Police Week which officially began May 15 and ends May 21. The financial responsibility anticipated to be carried by the county for the new full-time positions, including benefits, insurance and salaries, totals around $90,000 for the 2017 fiscal year.
Investigators may be hired from the pool of officers already working with the sheriff’s office or hired from outside the current organization. No individual has been currently hired for the new full-time investigator.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.