SIDNEY — Lt. Kelli Ward with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department has been an immense help in obtaining funding for the department since her promotion in March of 2022 according to Sheriff Jim Frye. Ward has been with the department for nearly 10 years. She started as a part-time secretary with the animal shelter until she finished her master’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Cincinnati when she became a full-time employee as the dog warden.
Just since her promotion to lieutenant in March, Ward has obtained multiple grants for the department for various equipment to better help the members of the department safely complete their jobs.
One of Ward’s first projects was to apply for a grant from the state for new body cameras. According to Frye, Ward was instrumental in obtaining the $81,000 grant that allowed the department to purchase new body cameras. After purchasing the new cameras with the grant, the department spent approximately $280,000 on the implementation of new software and cameras in the cruisers that link the body cameras to their cars. One of the main reasons the new body cameras and software was purchased was to help keep the deputies in the field safe. The new equipment is able to alert dispatch to the exact location of a man down if a deputy’s body camera reads as in a stationary, horizontal position for a certain amount of time.
Ward is also responsible for obtaining a $32,000 grant from Bulletproof Body Armor for new ballistic vests for the department and a $7,500 grant to which the department added $2,500 to equal $10,000 for another K-9 unit in the department.
“Had it not been for this grant, we would not have been able to justify the expense (for a new K9 unit). Thanks to Kelli’s hard work we now have one K-9 team on each shift,” said Frye.
The most recent grant that Ward has been instrumental in obtaining was a grant from the state for $37,278 to go towards violence prevention. The department is planning on using the violence prevention grant funds to purchase new surveillance equipment including OSCR360, a 360 degree camera that will capture all aspects of a crime scene to scale.
Ward is also expected to be earning her PhD in criminal justice from North Central University at the end of the month. Despite not needing the degree for her career, Ward said she went back to school for a PhD because she “just loves learning.”
“Kelli is an exception in law enforcement. There aren’t many, especially her age (31), that have a PhD. She could easily go anywhere but she’s held true to her commitment and her community,” said Frye.
The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.