SIDNEY — The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has experienced several changes since Sheriff Jim Frye was sworn in Dec. 28, 2020.
“I think one of the most important things is, with the way society is and all the calls to defund the police, I believe that training is a very important factor in the operation of our agency. What I did was, I have an Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy (OPOTA) certified instructor who is trained and can basically teach any topic within law enforcement, who also teaches at the academy,” Frye said.
Frye said if an incident happens involving an officer that needs to be examined, the first thing that is requested is the copies of the officer’s training files. Training is integral in situations like that, and Frye said that he thought it was beneficial to the deputies as well as the county in regard to liability issues, which is why he promoted Dave Spicer to sergeant and appointed him training officer within the department. The majority of the focus on training is currently on the use of force, and Frye said the office is up-to-date on all collaborative policies and procedures which includes use of force, pursuits and choke holds. Likewise, conflict resolution is emphasized in training.
“We’re not a big city. We’re a small county. Most of our guys know most of the people that they’re dealing with, and in my eyes and the way I’ve always treated my career is, you have to be compassionate,” Frye said.
Another change implemented was promoting a dispatcher to dispatch supervisor and 911 coordinator to make sure the office was up-to-date on all their policies and requirements. Frye also put an investigator in the detective section of the office to deal solely with cyber crime, most notably due to an uptick in scams spreading across the country.
“They’re targeting our elderly population, and that’s something I felt that’s very important, so I have a person — that’s their sole job, is to do that, cyber crimes, elderly crimes, scams. They’re also doing welfare fraud,” Frye said. “We can try to get out on top of it before people lose their money.”
One of the changes Frye is most proud of is developing a Sheriff’s Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of citizens from all parts of the county who meet with Frye to discuss what they see in their area of the county. One of the issues that was brought forward at a committee meeting was bullying within the schools in Shelby County. Additionally, Frye said that the committee is there to point out of there are concerns about what the office is doing, so that they can be more aware overall.
“We’ll refer to it as my ‘dream team’ — they’re there to advise us, if this is happening, if that’s happening, and so far it’s really kicked off. It brings to the table things we may not hear or see in the county,” Frye said. “For lack of a better term, we put together a helluva group of people from all walks of life and all parts of the county, and I am very happy to have this implemented.
Frye said that this is a start, and that the office will continue to be transparent and listen to the citizens of Shelby County.
“Obviously, we can’t please everybody, but we’re sure giving it a good shot to try to,” Frye said.
The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.