MOVING DAY: Administrative staff moves into offices at new jail


Major Robert Campbell, left, and Sheriff Brad Burkhart work on getting the new administration offices in shape as their staff move in to the new jail.

Tom Russo | Daily Reporter

HANCOCK COUNTY — No one really like packing up to move — especially after 34 years. But, that was the task charged to the administrative officials with the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department this past week.

After 34 years of operations, sitting in the front of the old county jail, the front office staff closed up shop this week at the old jail, packed up boxes and moved to the new jail where they spent several days unloading and getting things ready for work.

The county’s new multi-million jail opens for official business Monday, May 16. That means anyone needing any kind of help from the county’s sheriff’s department will need to reach out to the front office at their new offices.

Sheriff Brad Burkhart and several other administrators helped Matron Susan Coy, who basically runs the sheriff’s office along with Penney Weiler and Dayna McCall, transport their items to the new jail Monday.

The ladies then spent the rest of the week getting acclimated and putting things in place to make sure they’re able to help people who call and need reports, receipts or other help.

When asked midweek how the move was going, Coy said with a laugh,“It’s going.”

While she noted the new jail offices are easy to like because there is so much more space, she and other sheriff’s officials know it will take some time to get settled in and feel at home like they have in the old jail.

For Burkhart, who has worked in the old jail for the past 34 years, he said it’s been tough letting go of the old facility with so many memories. Still, he knows the move to the new offices and jail had to happen.

“I know we’re going to be doing a lot of good things at the new jail, not for just the next 34 years, but well beyond for the next 50 years or more,” Burkhart said.

The sheriff’s big goal this past week was getting the front office moved over. He and his second in command, Major Bobby Campbell, helped move the front office staff. That included packing and carrying boxes, unloading and even setting up copying machines.

“Our front office, they’re the ones we and people call if they need a crash report, something on the sheriff’s sales, or invoices and claims, all the stuff that runs this business,” Burkhart said.

While many of the things the sheriff’s office employees do nowadays are electronic, Burkhart noted there are files and files of paperwork and evidence stored in the old jail that has to make its way to the new facility.

“We’ve got a lot of stuff we can’t get rid of,” Burkhart said. “We’ve got boxes of stuff from the 60s on, all full of case files that we can’t just leave behind.”

Most of those types of things will takes months to move over. In the meantime, the administrative staff is set and ready to roll. Coy noted even though they shut down official office work this past week to make the move, they’ve been answering phones throughout the move and helping people.

For Coy, who had the smallest office in the old jail and had even run out of filing space in her office after 15 years, the move to a new facility was long overdue.

“I really have needed more space for a long time,” she said.

However, Coy noted she will miss the close proximity to all the county offices like the annex building, the prosecutor’s office, the probation department and the county courthouse which are all in one area, within walking distance when she has needed to drop off or pick up paperwork.

Those types of exchanges will have to be more coordinated and happen probably once a day if they can’t send things electronically.

“We just won’t be able to pop across the street anymore,” Coy said.

Weiler and McCall answer most of the phone calls coming into the sheriff’s department. Weiler handles the payroll and human resources side of operations while McCall handles civil paperwork.

“I’m more than ready for the move,” McCall said.

They sit beside each other in the new front entrance of the administrative office like they did at the old office, but they now have more work space.

Now their biggest challenge in moving forward will be making sure they keep heading east on U.S. 40 to the new office instead of turning right into the old facility come Monday.

“I already told the sheriff ‘I’m not gonna say I’m not gonna pull into our old parking lot,’” Weiler said with a laugh.

The front office ladies have already tried to make the new area more friendly and had time Tuesday afternoon to plant flowers outside of the administrative offices area to give the new structure a more welcoming look.

Capt. Robert Harris, the sheriff’s public information officer, got the chance late Wednesday to move his office from the old facility to the new one. He thinks the new facility and bigger front administrative offices will help the department run even more smoothly.

“Our operations are going to be more centralized with everything easier to access from the day-to-day operations side of things,” Harris said.

The officials noted while they’ll be open for business bright and early Monday morning, people still need to be patient since it will take several more months to get everything moved over. Inmates are expected to be moved over later this summer if all continues to go as scheduled.


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