Starke County Community Corrections officers who choose to undergo initial and continuing education training can carry firearms on duty after action Monday by the Starke County Commissioners. Program Coordinator Shawn Mattraw says the community corrections board approved a use of force policy, which was also reviewed by county attorney Marty Lucas.
The community corrections officers would be designated as special deputies by the sheriff to allow them to use force under special circumstances.
“It assists the sheriff’s department, quite honestly,” Mattraw told the commissioners. “If we have a home detention violator I don’t have to call the sheriff and say ‘I need one of your guys to come off the road and pick him up.’ We’re authorized by the sheriff to do certain things.”
The Starke County Community Corrections officers will be able to attend firearms and other training put on by the sheriff’s office. Mattraw says their special deputy privileges will be limited to functions having to do with ensuring compliance with home detention as ordered through the courts. He adds community corrections officers have the authority now to arrest anyone who violates the program’s rules. That is known as a courtesy transfer. Mattraw says the new policy will give them more legal protection to do that job
The commissioners unanimously approved the policy after clarifying that any officer who shoots someone will be placed on administrative leave pending review board action. Visit http://www.co.starke.in.us/departments/community-corrections/ to learn more about the program.