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Wilkerson state's top sheriff

August 26, 2009
Crawford County Sheriff Tim Wilkerson has worked hard to bring positive changes to the sheriff's department and the Crawford County Jail. He has replaced outdated equipment, implemented a program to hold Indiana Department of Correction prisoners to make money for the county, updated the department's fleet of patrol cars and now has a K-9 unit to help track criminals, drugs and missing people.

And the hard work didn't go unnoticed. Wilkerson was recently named "Indiana Sheriff of the Year" by the Indiana Sheriff's Association.

Wilkerson was nominated for the award by several members of his staff, including Rosie Webster, Russ Beals, Deputy Debra Young, Chief Deputy Andy Beals and others who have seen the improvements and have worked closely with Wilkerson.

"Our sheriff has accomplished all the goals he set for himself during the campaign," Webster, in a letter to the Sheriff's Association, said. "We are a very small department here in Craw-ford County, but we have a terrific sheriff who really deserves some appreciation for the hard work he does."

The letter went on to mention several accomplishments made by Wilkerson, including the reserve officers program, new radar equipment and cameras in patrol cars, new uniforms for corrections officers, more training for the corrections department, TASERs for all the officers including corrections, more security monitors, new computers, new electronic booking system, and a GED program and drug and alcohol abuse classes for DOC inmates.

Crawford County Prosecutor Cheryl Hillenburg also wrote a letter to the Sheriff's Association in support of Wilkerson, saying, in part, "Tim is a hands-on sheriff. He actively participates in law enforcement activities in the community and is dedicated to improving the quality of service available to the community."

Wilkerson received the award July 26 at a sheriff's conference at Lakeview Holiday Inn in Clarksville.

"I was really surprised and honored to be considered for this award," Wilkerson said last week. "I am proud to represent Crawford County. And it was a proud moment for my wife, Marla, and my daughter, Payten. The families of sheriffs have to sacrifice a lot. We often have to work long days and sometimes when I get home, I have to turn around and go right back if something comes up at the jail.

"The jail is my responsibility, and it's on my mind a lot, sometimes even in my sleep. It's really the hardest part of my job. I still enjoy getting out on the road when I can. I enjoy seeing the people. I was a deputy for years, and patrolling is in my blood."

Several members of his staff, including Russ and Andy Beals and their wives, jail commander Neil Richards and Young, as well as Crawford County Commissioner Larry Bye and his wife, Brenda, and Wilkerson's family, were present when Wilkerson received the award.

In his acceptance speech, Wilkerson said that he believes "all sheriffs are Sheriff of the Year."

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