Porter County Sheriff's Department


What's Happening at The Porter County Sheriff's Department

 

County Police, U.S. Marshal Join Forces

Partnership will give local officers the authority to go across the country to arrest wanted people

BY  KEN KOSKY Times Staff Writer

 

VALPARAISO -- Several people wanted by police in Porter County have crossed the Illinois border where police officers from Indiana do not have the authority to arrest someone.  But luck has run out for those on the run.  Porter County police warrant officers Dean Pontjeris and Robert Gannon on Thursday were deputized by the U.S. Marshal's Service.  "I can travel the whole United States," Pontjeris said. "That's going to be nice."  Gannon and Pontjeris may now travel out of state, arrest people and take them to the nearest jurisdiction for holding. And, with the proper paperwork, they can transport people back to Indiana.  However, they might not have to travel much. The Marshal's Service has offices throughout the country, and it has also formed partnerships with hundreds of other police departments. The Marshal's Service has also offered to arrest offenders nationwide and extradite them to Porter County for about half of what it would cost Porter County to do itself.  "We can be especially helpful when people (wanted in Porter County) leave the area," said U.S. Marshal Michael Carrington.  "I think it's exciting," Gannon said. "It's going to be interesting working with (the Marshal's Service) and them working with us."  The Marshal's Service will provide manpower to help serve the 4,850 outstanding warrants in Porter County. Porter County's officers, in turn, will help serve federal warrants in this area.  "The main objective here is to clear up these warrants," Pontjeris said.  "We're going to pool our resources and work together on their warrants and our warrants... It's going to be a good task force. I don't see any down side."  Sheriff Dave Reynolds said there were 5,900 arrest warrants to serve when he became sheriff. He said extra emphasis on the problem has helped cut that number to 4,850, but the assistance from the U.S. Marshal might lower that number further.  The partnership with the U.S. Marshal will benefit both sides in other ways. The county will get $1 million to help build the new Porter County Jail and in exchange the Sheriff's Department will rent jail bed space to the Marshal's Service.  "It's a tremendous opportunity for us," Reynolds said.  "They have a wealth of resources, and I appreciate their offer."  Reynolds said other steps are being taken to clear up the outstanding warrants, like listing wanted people on the Sheriff's Department Web site at www.portercountysheriff.com. The Sheriff's Department is also in the process of seeking to recall some extremely old civil warrants that involve someone who has moved out of the area who owes a small amount of money.

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