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Deputy: Sheriff to bring back town hall meetings in future

The return of town hall meetings across the county, the new jail and the fate of the old jail were among the topics discussed by the Butler County Sheriff’s Department’s chief investigator, Travis Johnson on Monday. Johnson spoke to members of the Greenville Lions Club to update them on activities within the department.

“We are planning to bring back the town hall meetings and will start with District 1, though no date has been set to begin them,” Johnson said. “A new addition to the meetings will be opportunity for citizens to participate in our firearms registration program. We are also going to soon be able to electronically track guns.”

Johnson said the new county jail facility, which currently houses 52 inmates, has “made law enforcement easier for the county.”

“The inmates don’t like it because they can’t holler at folks when they are outside, but for those of us who have worked there, it’s a totally different and much better place than we had before,” Johnson said.

The drug flow through the county, like so many other things, has been slowed by the downturn in the economy, he said.

“We’ve had 13 drug cases so far for the year, ranging from street-level possession to distribution. I think when people start getting their income tax refunds, the drugs will start flowing more heavily again,” Johnson said.

According to Johnson, meth is not the primary drug of choice in the county, with marijuana, crack and cocaine all being much more prevalent.

Neighbor watch groups are also being encouraged by the Sheriff’s Office.

“We are trying to be more proactive about these burglaries and do our best to help protect your property when you are away working,” Johnson said.

In terms of the old jail, Johnson said he was not sure what would be done with it. Butler County Commissioner Jesse McWilliams said the 1920s-era structure was fated for demolition.

“We found out it would cost a million to a million-and-a-half dollars to get the old jail into decent shape. We have buildings in need of restoration around the city we can’t afford to do for much less than that,” McWilliams said.

“We are looking for the right people to do the demolition and the clean up.”