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Today's News

Starke County Sheriff Warns about Scam

Several local residents have been getting phone calls that their grandson or granddaughter is in jail and they need bail money but Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen said this is a scam.

The caller will tell the victim that the person is in jail and explains ways to send money to get them out of jail. Cowen warns that this is a way to scam you out of money and to not give out any personal information.

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Starke County Commissioners Reassign Vehicles

starke-county-courthouseStarke County’s new EMS director will be driving one of the recently retired sheriff’s department patrol cars if the commissioners decide a county-owned vehicle is a necessary part of fulfilling those job duties. Continue reading

Council Approves Vehicle Purchases for Sheriff

Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen has the county council’s permission to buy two new patrol cars. Funds for one vehicle will come from from the county’s cumulative capital development fund. The other will be paid for from the commissioners’ EDIT fund. The county has agreed to spend up to $30,000 each on the vehicles, with the rest of the money to come from the sheriff’s commissary account. Continue reading

Starke County Commissioners to Revisit Paramedic Program Expansion

starke-county-courthouseThe Starke County Commissioners will revisit the proposed expansion of EMS services when they meet this morning. Director Paul Matthewson is seeking to add a paramedic to the North Judson and possibly the Grovertown base so the county can offer transfers from IU Health Starke Hospital to other facilities. Such transfers are covered by insurance or Medicaid and would generate money for the county. The commissioners want to make sure the expanded service will make money for the county before agreeing to proceed. Matthewson plans to hire part-time paramedics in order to keep costs down. Continue reading

Starke County Sheriff’s Department Pill Drop-Box Used Often, Says Cowen

 The Starke County Sheriff’s Department is home to a 24-hour prescription drop-box, giving residents the opportunity to drop off expired, unused or unwanted prescription medications 365 days a year. Previously, the sheriff’s department only housed a prescription drop-box during programs once per year, and now, Sheriff Oscar Cowen said they’re happy to have a full-time drop-box available at all times.

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Plane Goes Down at Starke County Airport

Fire crews remain at the scene of a plane crash just south of the runway at the Starke County Airport

Fire crews remain at the scene of a plane crash just south of the runway at the Starke County Airport

Personnel from the Starke County Sheriff’s Department and the Knox-Center Township Fire Department are on the scene of a fatal plane crash at the Starke County Airport.

The single-engine plane was coming in on the south end of the runway and went down at approximately 3 p.m. Sheriff Oscar Cowen said that the male pilot is deceased but could not elaborate on any more details as the investigation continues.

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Knox Man Killed in Marshall County Crash

 

A single-vehicle crash in Marshall County Tuesday afternoon claimed the life of a Knox man. It happened on State Road 17 near the intersection of 10B road south of Plymouth. Manis Stacy, Jr., 57, had just left work and was southbound on 17 when a piece of metal from a northbound trailer came loose and crashed through the windshield of his truck, according to Marshall County Coroner Bill Cleavenger. Stacy drove off the road into a field and hit a tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Officers from the Marshall County Police Department and Plymouth Fire and EMS responded. Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen notified Stacy’s family.

 

Sheriff and Council to Split Vehicle Equipment Costs

Sheriff Oscar Cowen

Sheriff Oscar Cowen

The Starke County Council agreed to split the cost of equipping the three new patrol cars with deer crash bumpers and wiring for radios and lights with Sheriff Oscar Cowen. The “ready for the road” equipment package includes the bumpers, which are designed to protect the radiator and are recommended by the county’s insurance company. The upgrades add an additional $10,668 to the cost for the cars over the amount initially approved for the purchase. Cowen initially asked the county to cover the entire cost but agreed to pay half from his commissary fund. Council members questioned why this cost wasn’t included in the initial bid process and asked Cowen to make sure future quotes cover all factory options.

Indiana’s Sheriffs Respond to Gun Control Issue

Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer

Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer

With the increase in focus on gun control, the Indiana Sheriff’s Association recently issued a statement regarding the controversial topic. The statement explained that while the debate over guns and gun control stirs strong feelings throughout the country, Indiana’s sheriffs have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and remain focused on solutions while not accepting any concept that would separate law-abiding citizens from their second amendment rights without due process.

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Scholarships Available for Criminal Justice Majors

Sheriff Oscar Cowen

Sheriff Oscar Cowen

The Indiana Sheriff’s Association is awarding college scholarships to qualified high school seniors or college students who are pursuing a degree in criminal justice studies. Forty $500 scholarships will be awarded to qualified students throughout the state.

Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen and Pulaski County Sheriff Michael Gayer have applications in their offices or you may pick up an application in the Guidance office in your school. Applications must be received by April 1.

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Authorities Emphasize Need For Dog Owners To Keep Animals Under Control

Sheriff Oscar Cowen

Sheriff Oscar Cowen

With two incidents this month involving police shooting aggressive dogs, Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen emphasized the need for dog owners to keep their animals safely detained, be it by chaining them outside or keeping them securely in the home. He said it’s not always black and white when it comes to identifying vicious animals, and it comes down to the dog’s owner to ensure they cannot attack visitors.

“When they feel that there’s danger out there, obviously we know that dogs will protect their home, their masters, their family. They have to restrain their dogs, whether fenced up, housed up, or chained up,” said Cowen.

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Mediation Session Resolves Issue between Starke County Sheriff, Merit Board

Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen

The issue between Sheriff Oscar Cowen and Starke County Merit Board President Ken Arnett seems to have been resolved. A mediation session was held last Friday. Former Starke County Circuit Court Judge Marvin McLaughlin conducted the session and reported back to the county council Monday night.

“All the parties showed up and brought their common sense,” McLaughlin said. “We got an agreement that took care of the whole lawsuit. We also established a procedure for settling all the disputes and the council and courts should not be bothered again.”

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Mediation Session Between Starke County Sheriff, Merit Board Scheduled for Today

Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen

A mediation session conducted by former Starke County Judge Marvin McLaughlin will be this morning at 9:00 a.m. McLaughlin, a current Starke County Councilman, volunteered to mediate a disagreement between Merit Board President Ken Arnett, and Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen.

The pair appeared before the County Council in mid-February. Arnett requested funds to fight a suit brought against him and the merit board members by the Sheriff.

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Special Prosecutor Named to Impropriety Case

A special prosecutor has been named to handle the case against Sheriff Oscar Cowen in which claims of impropriety were filed by former deputy Don Ferguson. Curtis Hill of Elkhart County has been named, but he has not yet accepted the position. Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff petitioned for a special prosecutor because of his close work relationship with the Starke County Police.

The Special Judge assigned to the case, Honorable Jeffrey Thode of Porter Superior Court #6 located in Portage, Ind., will replace Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall who issued an Order of Recusal and Assignment of a Special Judge to the case.

Claims of Impropriety Filed Against Starke County Sheriff

Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen

The Indiana State Police have informed Starke County Prosecutor Nicholas Bourff that claims of impropriety have been brought against Sheriff Oscar Cowen by former deputy, Don Ferguson.

Because he works closely with the Starke County Police, Prosecutor Bourff petitioned for a special prosecutor to handle the claims. Also issuing an Order of Recusal and Assignment of Special Judge was Starke Circuit Court Judge Kim Hall. The Special Judge assigned to the case is the Honorable Jeffrey Thode of Porter Superior Court #6 located in Portage, Indiana. This Judge will conduct all future proceedings including a ruling on the pending Petition for a Special Prosecutor.

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Starke County Sheriff Sues Merit Board

Sheriff Cowen (R) discusses the lawsuit against the Merit Board with the Starke County Council

A feud between Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen and Merit Board President Ken Arnett has spilled over into a public squabble. Ken Arnett came before the Starke County Council Monday night requesting funds to fight a suit brought by the sheriff against the Merit Board.

“I’m here requesting funding for attorneys fees for the Merit Board,” said Arnett. “As I’m sure you’ve probably know, a suit has been filed against the Merit Board.”

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From the WKVI Archives

Jayne Cowen as Miss Starke County in 2001

It was 11 years ago that the first Starke County Pageant was held at the North Judson-San Pierre Socialatorium. One of the highlights of the evening was an appearance by the 2000 Miss Indiana Betsy Bobel.

The first Miss Starke County was Jayne Cowen, who said after being crowned that introducing crime prevention programs in schools would be her platform.

After competing in the Miss Indiana Pageant, June 14th, 2001, Jayne went back to Indiana State University where she finished her degree work.

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State Legislature to Consider Sending Class D Felons Back to County Jails

The state legislature will be discussing a piece of legislation this session that would send felons who have committed a Class D Felony back to the county jails to serve their time, rather than serving it in a state facility.

Starke County Sheriff, Oscar Cowen, was asked how this would impact the jail if this legislation is approved.

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Starke County Jail Committee Public Meetings Set for Next Week

Starke County Jail

The Starke County Jail Committee will be holding three public meetings to present information on what the Jail Committee has been discussing concerning a jail project.

The first meeting will be on Tuesday, January 17th at 7:00 p.m. at the Knox Middle School Cafeteria. Other meetings will be held on Wednesday, January 18th at 6:00 p.m. at the North Judson-San Pierre High School and on Thursday, January 19th at 6:00 p.m. at the Oregon-Davis High School.

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Starke County Sheriff Seeks Approval for Supplemental Pension Fund

Sheriff Oscar Cowen

Sheriff Oscar Cowen

Starke County Sheriff Oscar Cowen came before the board of commissioners yesterday to ask approval for implementing a supplemental plan to the Police Pension Fund program.

“Morgan Stanley is offering a supplement to our retirement and they have to have approval through the Commissioners so the Auditor’s Office can deduct from the percentage of pay that the employees want to put into a supplement retirement,” Cowen told the Commissioners. “They are willing to come up and present a program, but they said they just need the approval of the Commissioners to have the supplement so the Auditor can deduct it from their pay.”

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