Jail has only one volunteer for Orange Patrol duties

BROOKVILLE — It may be fall and closing upon Halloween, but don’t expect to see much orange — orange jumpsuits, that is.

During Monday’s meeting of the Jefferson County Jail Inspection/Intermediate Punishment Board, Sheriff Carl Gotwald reported that the Orange Patrol will not be up-and-running until he receives more participation from the inmates.

Currently, he is down to one volunteer.

The sheriff’s office and jail oversee the Inmate Work Release Program, and its Orange Patrol performs jobs throughout the county, including snow removal, painting, clean-up and maintenance.

Furthermore, the Orange Patrol also maintains six cemeteries that are no longer maintained or are unclaimed and mows and trims county-owned property, including the jail, the 911 center and the fairgrounds.

According to Gotwald, the Orange Patrol normally averages six to eight workers, and it’s not “cost-effective” to have only one inmate performing work.

“This summer, we averaged six to eight people a day, all summer,” he said. “We got a lot of work done ... they are well-accepted everywhere they go.”

The Orange Patrol is available to perform services for local townships or municipalities, but work must be approved by the sheriff and county commissioners.

All hours worked by the deputies are reimbursed to the county.
For more information, call Gotwald at 814-849-1615.

Also Monday:
• Warden Tom Elbel reported that the jail population is “way down.” The jail had been averaging 120 inmates a day, but Monday morning, there were only 97 inmates housed in the jail.

The jail population report for September:
• Total Jefferson County — 103 inmates (81 male, 22 female).
• Total housed out-of-county — 23 inmates (21 male, two female).
• Total population — 126 inmates.
• The county provided housing for eight out-of-county inmates. The cost for housing out-of-county inmates is $55 per day.

• The regular meeting of the jail board was not held Monday, Sept. 26, due to the lack of a quorum.

• The jail recently held a major fire drill evacuation that was the first in its history.

The drill involved the Pinecreek Volunteer Fire Company, the Brookville Volunteer Fire Company and the Warsaw Township Volunteer Fire Company.
Elbel said the drill “went better than expected for the very first one.”

• Elbel formally welcomed Brian Sneeringer, the jail’s new deputy warden, Monday.

Sneeringer was in the Marine Corps for four years, then performed high-risk security for the Department of State in Iraq for four-and-a-half years.

Sneeringer said he hopes to bring discipline and leadership to the jail.

• The next meeting of the jail board will take place at noon Wednesday, Nov. 23.