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SHEPHERDSVILLE - When Donnie Tinnell decided to make a run at the sheriff’s office, it was a well planned campaign with some lofty goals.
In his first term as sheriff, Tinnell said he is pleased with the progress made on many of those goals. He is now seeking another four years to continue those programs.
“I love the challenge to make it better,” said Tinnell, who has 29 years in the law enforcement career. “We’ve done a lot but there is a lot more to accomplish.”
First, he wanted to make sure his deputies were seen in the community. With some unique striping and going to white vehicles, Tinnell said he has gotten many compliments on the number of patrol officers he has on the streets.
He also wanted to increase the amount of specialized training for the deputies and he has done that.
“I am confident we can work any type of case and get convictions,” said Tinnell.
The agency has a crime scene vehicle and nine members of the department are trained for the special response team. The agency is planning to do active shooter training to prepare if anything happened in a school.
“Training is everything,” said Tinnell.
One of the accomplishments Tinnell is most proud of is designating a deputy to serve as a school resource officer. And he is hoping that a second officer could be added in the coming year.
DARE is an excellent program at the elementary level but Tinnell said having someone in the middle and high schools is invaluable.
Current officer Carl Trent doesn’t have as much time to get into the middle schools but Tinnell said it is important.
“A lot of issues could be dealt with at the middle schools,” said Tinnell.
He is pleased with the professionalism of his deputies and the training being required of the special deputies, who are often seen at ball games and special events.
The agency has been criticized by some for the number of vehicles and special units in the sheriff’s department fleet. However, Tinnell said most of the items acquired have been donated.
The department has a command unit equipped with computers, televisions and seating areas. The agency has nine four-wheel drive vehicles, which have been more fuel efficient and more usable in the snowy winter.
“I think we’ve made a lot of good moves,” said Tinnell, 60.
His goal for the next four years is to continue the programs currently underway and to continue to look for ways to improve.
Ideally, he would like to add to the road deputies, which are currently two more than when he took office.
And he would like to continue working with other police agencies in the county.
He would also like to add the second school resource officer.
“Our main goal is to make Bullitt County the safest community to live in,” said Tinnell. “People can move anywhere but we want them to make Bullitt County their place to live.”