Inmate poplation continues to decrease

By Melanie Speicheer -

SIDNEY — After approximately three weeks of releasing inmates, Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart reported there are currently 57 people housed at the Shelby County Jail. The Star House has 15 occupants.

“That’s the most number we’ve ever had (in the Star House_,” said Lenhart. “I’ve talked to other counties and most receiving houses are at maximum capacity.

“All but one of the 15 are employed,” he said. “The one that is unemployed is doing community work four hours every day.A couple of other ones lost their jobs and they found other employment.”

In March, Lenhart talked with commissioners, judges, health department, and elected officials. In order to protect the Sheriff’s Office from exposure to the coronavirus, they took preventive measures and restricting access to the facility. To get the jail population reduced, Lenhart said 44 inmates who were convicted on misdemeanor offences, were released in March.

Continued releases have brought the jail population down to 57, he said.

“All inmates and jail personnel are required to wear masks,” said Lenhart, citing Gov. Mike DeWine’s order this week. The inmates don’t have to wear their masks if they are in their cell.

“This is a result of the coronavirus being found in the state and federal prison in Cuyahoga County,” said Lenhart. “We have no issues here (with the virus).”

Lenhart said there were two arrests over the weekend and both inmates are being held in quarantine for 14 days in a separate part of the jail.

He said there have been some cases of domestic violence, which he attributes to the close quarters everyone is living in.

Adoptions are continuing at the Shelby County Animal Shelter, he said. There are currently 25 dogs and nine cats up for adoption.

“If someone wants to adopt an animal, they should contact the shelter on our website or on Facebook and make an appointment,” said Lenhart. “We’re also getting less stray animal calls so that tells me people are taking care of their pets.”

Lenhart expressed his condolences to the Randall Marchal family. A tribute to his family was held Sunday night when more than 400 vehicles drove past his residence in Russia.

Lenhart said they were expecting anywhere from 50 to 100 cars to join the tribute.

“It was a nice tribute to Randall Marchal,” he said.

Lenhart said there were only three people who went to the Shelby County Fairgrounds Monday to be tested for COVID-19 via the drive-thru sponsored by Wilson Health.

“The requirements for testing have changed a little,” said Lenhart. “When it first started, the person had to have symptoms of the virus, have traveled out-of=the country and have a doctor’s order for the test.

“Now you just need to have symptoms and a doctor’s script to receive the test,” he said.

“Shelby County is more actively testing people that some of the surrounding counties,” said Lenhart.

He encourages people to observe the 6 foot distancing from one another when they are out in public.

“Some people are doing that and some are not,” said Lenhart. “It’s in their best interest to observe it.”

Lenhart also gave a nod to Jackson Center Local Schools for the “Tiger Watch” hunt they held Sunday. Residents were encouraged to place a tiger in their window.

“My church — First Church of Christ in Kettlersville — usually has 50, 60 or 70 people in church on a Sunday. We’re live streaming the service and we had 250 people watching the service Sunday.”

The pastor is also doing a children’s program every day of the week, he said.

By Melanie Speicheer

The Sidney Daily News conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.

The Sidney Daily News conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.