Stanly sheriff has changes planned for county’s animal control department

Published 8:51 am Thursday, October 8, 2020

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When Stanly’s citizens make a call for an animal control officer in the future, sworn law-enforcement officers will handle those calls.

After Monday’s decision by the Stanly County Board of Commissioners to move animal control under the purview of the Sheriff’s Office, many changes are on the way for the department.

According to Sheriff Jeff Crisco, a trained deputy sergeant will now oversee the day-to-day operations of Stanly County Animal Control.

Animal control officers will soon be sworn deputies of the Sheriff’s Office, which will include classes in basic law enforcement taught at Stanly Community College. Crisco said those existing animal control officers will be offered the training at no cost to the employee, with the county paying for it.

Previously, animal control officers did not have the power to type out their own search warrants or orders of arrest and could not arrest felony offenders.

“It makes sense for them all to be sworn (officers). That way, they have full powers of arrest. They are deputies; they can do everything from start to finish,” Crisco said.

The sheriff said he and others have been working with the commissioners to come to an agreement on how his office would take it over. Crisco credited Commissioner Tommy Jordan for reaching out to him about wanting animal control to be under the sheriff’s control.

Jordan said he would like to thank Crisco for putting a plan together to bring Animal Control under his office, along with Stanly County Health Director David Jenkins for offering to work with the commissioners and the Sheriff’s Office to develop it.

“It’s taken over two years and a lot of planning to bring this to fruition,” Jordan said Thursday. “Moving animal control into the Sheriff’s Office provides more accountability as calls for service can be routed through communications just like any other call to the Sheriff’s department. The Sheriff’s Office also has a well-defined procedural workflow for ensuring calls are routed, handled efficiently and followed up on. These are assets the health department’s infrastructure didn’t have at their disposal, which will decrease response time, increase efficiency in the department and overall provide for a better service for our county and its people.”

Jordan said having sworn officers reduces redundancy in staff required to handle calls and provides sworn officers “at a cost savings to the taxpayer.”

The commissioner also noted all animal cases, small and large animals, are under one jurisdiction “which will resolve much confusion for our citizenry. It’s one call, to one office, no matter what the animal-related issue is.”

Additional training, Crisco said, was something important to him for the Sheriff’s Office when he was elected, just like now with the animal shelter.

Crisco said he will hire a director of animal services, a manager for the animal shelter “who is an expert…they will know everything about animal control from adoptions to vaccinations.”

The sheriff said he would not criticize or bash the previous administrator of the shelter, but said it is his goal and Jordan’s to change the public’s image of Animal Control into a positive one.

“We want the citizens of this county to know they can respect (the department) …that the service provided is top quality,” Crisco said.

Having been a police officer and narcotics investigator previously, Crisco said animal control is an area he knows little about but he is learning about it, likening it to learning more at the county’s jail about what corrections officers do on a day-to-day basis.

“I can’t expect any of the deputies or animal control officers to do a job I don’t know how to do myself,” Crisco said.

Crisco said the changeover will have some hiccups, but he asks citizens to bear with them and give them time.

“We are going to make this a very reputable part of the Sheriff’s Office.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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