Sheriff hopes to increase department’s openness
Jeff Soyez has plenty of things to keep him busy as he transitions from railroad detective to county sheriff.
A former sergeant with the sheriff’s office, he’s always had a desire to serve county residents.
“When I left the sheriff’s department in 2008, I promised myself I would end my career in law enforcement as the sheriff of Marion County,” Soyez said. “This was always my goal. I truly believe this is a great place to live and raise kids.”
His first few weeks in his new role are about learning the budget so he can make wise use of taxpayer money but make sure the department has what it needs.
He’s been meeting with deputies so they understand his expectations and the future direction of the department.
He’s met with local police departments to enhance communication between the law enforcement agencies and let them know his ideas and goals.
All full-time police officers are being given cards that will permit them to respond to events in the county and do what needs to be done until a deputy arrives.
He also wants to enhance communications with fire departments and the county attorney’s office.
Soyez also has spent time listening to county residents to learn what their expectations are.
He wants to see deputies spend more time in the county’s rural areas — not simply when residents have a problem.
Schedules have been changed so deputies are on patrol 24/7.
His eye also is on finding new training for deputies to expand their resources for working with residents.
“Each individual deputy has been brought in and we’ve discussed what they’re already trained in and we’re looking at what might be advantageous for the county,” Soyez said.
Reviewing data from case reports is giving him insight into the county’s larger and most common issues. Right now he sees those common issues as drugs, theft, and repeat offenders.
“I want to find a way to combat the issues with the system in place or change the parts of the system that I can to reduce the crime of repeated defenders,” Soyez said.
He also wants to make it a point to make himself available to meet with small groups who want to talk to him. If people in outlying towns ask, he’ll go there for a “coffee with the sheriff” meeting. He’s also open to such meetings in Marion.
“That way we get a sense of what they want,” he said.