By Mandi Kindheart-White
It’s been about 10 months since the city council voted to disband the Vandalia Police Department. Since then, the Audrain County Sheriff’s Office has been patrolling the city and providing law enforcement coverage to the area.
Audrain County Sheriff Matt Oller explained the transition had been going smooth.
“I have not been aware of any issues,” he said. “We have good communication between the city. Everything seems to be going well.”
With only a few speed bumps along the way, Oller noted, “I actually expected the transition to have more problems, but surprisingly it has been fairly easy.”
The Sheriff’s Office did hire another officer, and the members of his department had to take time to learn Vandalia’s municipal ordinances and city codes.
“This was the greatest challenge,” he said, “but our deputies are up to speed on those and have been since May.”
The City of Vandalia stated at its Aug. 10 board meeting that the communication has been good between the Audrain Sheriff’s Office and the city.
The City of Vandalia recently hired a code enforcement officer part-time for abatements and to assist with animal control. These are the two areas the Sheriff’s office does not handle for municipalities.
Oller said, “My deputies are not trained to handle abatements or answer animal control calls, unless there is a dangerous dog, but not for dogs running at large. This has seemed to be the only issue so far.”
The contract between the Sheriff’s Office and the City of Vandalia states the patrolling deputies would not include abatements and animals at large.