Citizens help to build back sheriff's department

By: Kendall Downing Email
By: Kendall Downing Email

It was a department once in ruins. That's what some are saying about what disgraced Whitley County Sheriff Lawrence Hodge left behind for the new administration.

Current Sheriff Colan Harrell said he is trying to build back a professional sheriff's department, something he could not have done without the community's help.

When he took office, the fleet of vehicles needed fixing.

"They were and are in a state of emergency. We have five vehicles on the road with less than 100,000 miles on them," said Harrell.

The community has come together.

"A number of our employees indicated to us there was some support needed in the way of cars and tires," said Lynn Taylor, Firestone's plant manager.

Tuesday Firestone's Williamsburg plant gave the Whitley County Sheriff's Department eight sets of new tires.

"Got a list of the sizes they needed, started going through company resources on how to secure the tires," said Taylor.

This, as the department is reeling from its former administration. Former sheriff Lawrence Hodge is facing a list of state corruption charges.

Federal affidavits released in the past weeks also point to Hodge's involvement in a larger scale drug ring, but he has not been federally charged.

But that, is all in the past.

"Hopefully we are getting past that cloud and looking forward at ways that we can start to improve our community," said Pat White, Jr, Whitley County Judge-Executive.

This donation is one way to look to the future.

"Pretty valuable to us," said Harrell.

Priceless - for a department looking for a fresh start.

Firestone's Williamsburg plant does not actually make the tires on site at that location, so they had to get them from another plant in the company.

Sheriff Harrell said the support of the community has been tremendous, from people donating guns to the department, to volunteering to stripe patrol cars.

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