Saturday, June 30, 2001

Boone Co. law agents unite

Police, sheriff's dept. combine July 1

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — Beginning Sunday, a sheriff's deputy will arrive when Boone County residents call for police.

        That's the day Boone County's police force will officially be folded into the sheriff's department in a merger of the two agencies.

        County police officers will become deputies, carry a sheriff's badge and wear brown sheriff's uniforms.

    • WHAT:The swearing-in ceremony for 110 Boone County sheriff's deputies.
    • WHEN: Today from 5-7 p.m.
    • WHERE: Boone County Cooperative Extension Service Office, 6028 Camp Ernst Road in Burlington.
        “It is just not the end of the Boone County police department,” said Boone County Sheriff Mike Helmig said, “it is the end of the sheriff's department as we have known it.”

        The combined forces nearly triple the sheriff's ranks and nearly double the department's coffers.

        The one-time cost for all these changes is estimated at $125,000. Sheriff Helmig said he hasn't received the final receipts, but the consolidation appears to be costing at or below what was estimated.

        During a two-year debate on whether to consolidate departments, merger supporters said wasteful overlap would be eliminated.

        But a report commissioned by fiscal court said even long-range savings are likely to be obscured by law enforcement needs created by unprecedented growth.

        Boone County was the fastest-growing county in Greater Cincinnati and the second fastest-growing county in Kentucky, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. Boone County population grew to 85,991 residents, a 49.3 percent increase in population since 1990.

        No one lost his job or any benefits because of the consolidation. Boone County Police Chief James Whalen will become one of two chief deputies in the merged department, with the of colonel.

        The merger was approved by fiscal court on April 4.

        County police officers will be deputized during a public ceremony this afternoon.

        “I didn't think there was ever a possibility that I would end up being a deputy when I was hired as a county police officer four years ago,” said Officer Josh Quinn. “But when I looked at myself in the mirror wearing the sheriff's uniform for the first time, I was real happy with what I saw. I was proud.”

        Officer Quinn was deputized earlier in the week because he is on vacation today.


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