New sheriff ready to tackle projects

Allen County Sheriff David Gladieux

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  Allen County’s new sheriff has already made some administrative changes and has plans for a new K9 training center. David Gladieux said his biggest challenge will have to do with managing the department’s budget.

He talked with NewsChannel 15 as he prepared to take on his new role.

Gladieux started with the Allen County Sheriff’s Department in 1985 as a civilian confinement officer at the jail. Over the years, he served as a dispatcher, worked in the K9 division and as a SWAT member, and became an arson investigator.
In 2007 Sheriff Fries promoted Gladieux to chief deputy. He filled that role until this week, when he was sworn in as Allen County’s 50th Sheriff.

His career in law enforcement was sparked at a young age. His father and his uncle were both Indiana State Troopers. His sister is currently a Fort Wayne police officer.

As Gladieux begins his leadership of the department, he’s already set some changes in motion by bringing back deputy chief positions.

“They are currently captains,” explained Gladieux. “There’s a captain that oversees half the department and there’s a captain that oversees the other half, the administrative and the operational. I’m going to promote them up to deputy chiefs. They’re gonna have a little more responsibility, especially on the administrative side. I’m tacking on the warrants and the civil division. The sexual assault registry people are gonna be under his watch as well. Probably one of the biggest changes – I’m not going to micromanage my guys. I feel these guys are making decent salaries at the top and they need to be made to do their jobs. I’ve explained that to them. And that I’m going to give them open reigns to run their respective divisions and if they make a decision that I don’t agree with, then we’ll talk about it.”

The new sheriff would also like to start a work crew made up of jail inmates.

“I think it’s important to get these inmates out of that jail and get them truly paying their debt to society, if you will. Whether it’s cleaning up vacant lots in downtown Fort Wayne to make it look better, to cutting grass out at our range, to picking up brass, what have you. I just think they spend an awful lot of time sitting around watching tv and reading the newspaper and figuring out how to sue me,” Gladieux chuckled. “So I think I would really like to have a good working relationship with the judges and actually have it part of a sentence, especially with the new sentencing reform where the class D felons are going to be staying at home rather than going down to the DOC [Department of Corrections.] I think this is a perfect opportunity to start that program and if they were not going to the DOC maybe they could at least get sentenced to the sheriff’s work crew. And it’s a good opportunity for them to maybe learn something instead of sitting there sucking up all the community’s tax dollars.”

Speaking of tax dollars, Sheriff Gladieux expects the budget to be his biggest challenge.

“I’m also going to maybe take a different approach when it comes to funding. Say, for instance, we need a K9 training academy. The one we have now is old, dilapidated, it’s not even insulated. It’s in poor condition and that’s probably one of the top things I want to do is get a new K9 training site. We have the land, it’s paid for – out there by Adams Center and Paulding – by our range,” said Gladieux. “My idea would be – you know, the sheriff has a commissary account. So maybe I could approach the commissioners and the council and say, ‘Look, I’ll put X toward this project, would you be willing to match me?’ And I think that’s a better approach than going to them and saying, ‘Hey, I need this. Will you pay for it?’ Northeast Indiana needs a place like that. It’s not to get confused with the city’s Public Safety Academy because that’s all indoor. It’s more of a classroom setting. Ours is all outdoor.”

In addition to managing the department’s money, Gladieux said he plans to spend time fostering good relationships with neighboring law enforcement agencies and with the public.

“We have worked really hard for years and years and I’ve worked for some great sheriffs and every sheriff that I’ve worked for took pride in our reputation in the community. And that’s important to me as well. I know it is with Sheriff Fries and it’s something I plan on continuing,” he said. “I think it’s real important to have good communication with the other agencies in your jurisdiction. It’s very important. With regards to the city of Fort Wayne, I get along great with Rusty [York, the city’s Public Safety Director] and with [Fort Wayne Police Chief] Garry Hamilton and the mayor himself. And you know, the mayor’s a Democrat and I’m a Republican, but at the end of the day, we have jobs to do and I really don’t play that whole R and D thing.”

Considering recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and New York, Sheriff Gladieux said the department is already looking into providing officers with body cameras. “Of course, it’s like anything else. It just comes down to dollars and cents. Probably the biggest thing that I would want the community to understand is it’s not the cure-all. It’s not going to solve everything and it certainly isn’t going to prevent things from happening. But if there’s a chance that it can provide some evidence that sides with the officer when he’s accused of doing wrong, then I’m all for it. And if it happens once, then it’s good. It’s paid for itself.”

Gladieux now oversees about 350 people, including sworn deputies, civilian confinement officers, reserve officers, and administrative staff. He said he hopes to take advantage of their collective experience and training.

“Just because I’ve got the office of sheriff doesn’t make me the know-it-all of everything. I’m gonna rely on people around me. Good people. Educated people who’ve been in the business as long as I have. And I think two heads are better than one. Many heads are better than one. So kind of a group effort. We’re gonna have a nice team.”

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