Hamilton Co. Sheriff announces office audit and other changes - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Sheriff announces office audit and other changes

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil announced a 100-day independent audit of his office aimed at helping to find operational and financial efficiencies.

"This audit will make us transparent," Sheriff Neil said Wednesday.

Neil signed the contract for the independent audit with Greenwood & Streicher, LLC on March 18th. The audit will cost between $45,000 and $50,000, which will be paid for by funds generated by the Sheriff's Office. Neil pointed to former Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher's experience and knowledge of the community as the key reasons his company was chosen. 

"I would put them up with any team out there," Neil said.

The goal for the Sheriff's Office audit is to eliminate duplications in services, look for waste, and recommend revisions in policies and procedures. Neil says his office is short-staffed in the jail, currently spending $40,000 a month in overtime.

"I was allocated $57 million. I will spend $57 million, but the point here is to spend those dollars more wisely," Neil emphasized.

The sheriff says he has already made a number of changes on his own including adjusting the structure of the upper management staff by reducing the number of majors from eight to three.

"We have new leaders, new ideas, fresh eyes, a new look," Neil said.

Neil says he has also held to his promise of stopping the revolving door or "process only" policy at the jail. According to his office, "process only" is the practice of releasing men from jail who have been arrested for minor crimes after a short booking process. He says when offenders are released they are often not showing up for court which ultimately results in additional costs to locate the offenders and re-arrest them.

Since February 1st, all male offenders that have been booked have been detained until they either make bail or bond or see the judge at their arraignment. Females are being held if there is room available.

Detainees are required to be kept in a cell by themselves while the general population can be double celled. By law, the jail is authorized to hold a maximum of 1,240 in general jail population inmates which does not include detainees.

Neil says the summertime population of the jail generally increases by 20%.

The sheriff says they have also combined the jail and patrol academy into a Sheriff's Office Academy. He says they have hired 30 officers including eight to nine females and are currently conducting a jail academy.

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