Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing at last week’s Monroe County Board meeting detailed a list of accomplishments, including financial figures, and clarified possible misunderstandings about changes that have taken effect since Rohfling took office in 2016.
He described how he requested two additional deputies and a corrections officer, or jailor, upon his election in 2016. Rohlfing noted state jail inspections had for years cited the jail staff as being shorthanded, and that the last new hire had been by his predecessor, Sheriff Dan Kelley, in 2007. Kelley, Rohlfing said, also regularly asked for additional patrol officers and jailers.
One change Rohlfing implemented was getting the inmates’ meals from Oak Hill, at a cost savings of about $100,000 the first year, he said.
Rohlfing also said that due to the full-time involvement of a sheriff’s deputy with a Drug Enforcement Administration program, the sheriff’s department has been able to cover the deputy’s salary with the help of assets gained through the forfeiture of property involved in drug raids.
In fact, Rohlfing relayed, the department will receive enough financial proceeds to cover the deputy’s salary for the past two years and further fund it into the future.
In addition to providing income to smaller department like MCSD, the DEA program is taking large quantities of drugs off streets across the region, Rohlfing pointed out.
He also discussed the positive impact of housing federal prisoners in the county jail. He noted Sheriff Kelley took advantage of this revenue stream during his tenure as well, but backed away from the program when the large majority of federal prisoners were Spanish speaking, creating communication difficulties in the jail.
Rohlfing noted that since the summer of 2015, this program has brought more than $300,000 to the county, which goes directly into the county’s general fund.
“I’m proud of where we have come in three years,” Rohlfing said.
Calls for service have more than doubled in six years, from 6,431 in 2012 to 13,247 last year; and while the regional average solve rate for burglaries is 25 percent, Monroe County deputies solve more than two-thirds of burglaries.
“We are able to patrol more with our added deputies, and I am told frequently — especially by rural citizens — that they appreciate seeing us in their areas,” he concluded.
Monroe County State’s Attorney Chris Hitzemann, Judge Dennis Doyle and Monroe County Probation Officer Courtney Schweickhardt requested guaranteed funding from the county board to hire a second probation officer. The county has applied for a grant to pay a second probation officer, but have not yet heard back on a decision.
It was noted neighboring Randolph County has 260 people on probation and two probation officers and a secretary, while Monroe County’s one probation officer is burdened with 407 cases.
Doyle and Hitzemann noted the value of being able to target intensive supervision for some people on probation, as a measure that has been shown to reduce repeat crimes.
The commissioners approved the measure.
In honor of May 20-26 as Monroe County EMS Week, the commissioners signed a proclamation designating such. They also honored the department’s 40 years of service to the county.
Prior to 1978, ambulance services were provided by the two local funeral homes. Monroe County EMS was established Feb. 1, 1978, with three ambulance vehicles bought with a $42,000 grant.
The Monroe County Board will meet next in regular session at 8 a.m. May 21 at the courthouse. Meetings are open to the public and agendas are posted at MonroeCountyIL.gov under the Quick Links drop-down menu.