BY LEN WELLS
Due to recent retirements and medical issues, the White County Sheriff’s Department is short handed. Sheriff Randy Graves addressed the White County Board during their Monday morning meeting, outlining the crisis and his outlining his plans to bring the department back to full staff.
In addressing the board, Sheriff Graves noted that until March 1, 2020, the county operated with six deputies plus the sheriff. That list included Sheriff Doug Maier, Sgt. Byrd Huber, Sgt. Craig Pools, Deputies Randy Graves, Justin Spencer, Scott Cantrell and Jordan Weiss who had been assigned to the Southern Illinois Drug Task Force.
After March 1, 2020, Sgt. Byrd Huber retired and Deputy Jordan Weiss left the Drug Task Force to become a road deputy, bringing the department down to 5 deputies plus the sheriff.
March 1 of this year, Sheriff Doug Maier retired and Sgt. Randy Graves was promoted to Sheriff. That meant the department was down to four deputies, plus the sheriff.
As of July 13 of this year, Scott Cantrell will be retiring, bringing the sheriff’s department down to 3 deputies plus the sheriff. Additionally, one deputy is experiencing medical issues at this time.
Sheriff Graves told the board that he has hired two new deputies to take the place of himself and Deputy Cantrell. Matt Wicker of Enfield has been hired as a deputy and will begin police academy training in August, but won’t graduate until December. Wicker currently works as a jailer.
The other deputy Sheriff Graves has hired is Mike Brown from the Grayville Police Department. Brown has already undergone police academy training and will be able to begin work immediately. However, the department will still be short a deputy until December of this year when Matt Wicker graduates from academy training.
To help cover the immediate shortages in shift coverage, Sheriff Grave told board members that Dustin Dale with the Norris City Police Department and Jonathan Lucas from the Carmi Police Department are working a few hours each week to help cover patrol shortages.
After December 3, 2021, the White County Sheriff’s Department will include Sheriff Graves, Sgt. Craig Poole, and deputies Justin Spencer, Jordan Weiss, Matt Wicker and Mike Brown.