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New logos, new services, sheriff's department has some new features

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By Cindy DiFazio

Staff writer/photographer

Henry County Sheriff Danny Cravens is proud of the redesigned emblem emblazoned on the department’s fleet of vehicles. He said they have received a lot of positive feedback from the public.

“People are saying they (the vehicles) look more professional,” Cravens said. “Some even think that the department has bought new cars.”

Actually, there is only one new 2008 Crown Victoria in the inventory, the remaining vehicles are 2000-2007 models.

Chad Heightchew of Xtreme Graphics in Pleasureville designed the new look for the striping kit based on Cravens’ idea.

The new insignia isn’t the only change in the agency.

In August the sheriff’s department introduced an online option for property tax payments. Cravens said that will be especially handy for out-of-state property owners.

“It makes it more convenient for taxpayers,” he said.

With the online option, a credit or debit card may be used. There is a flat flee of $2 for debit card users. Taxpayers wishing to utilize credit cards will pay more. Fees on MasterCard, Visa and Discover are 2.5 percent of the transaction plus 50 cents. American Express charges 3.5 percent plus 50 cents.

The service is provided at no cost to the county.

The department also has restructured some personnel assignments and job descriptions.

A road officer, besides working traffic, will handle investigations including theft by deception, fraud and driving under the influence.

A resource officer will serve papers and take complaints. “Court process servers increase the service of the papers,” he said.

The department also has doubled courtroom security by increasing the number from one to two officers.

“We’re developing into a more active law enforcement agency, Cravens said”

The force recently acquired three tasers at a cost of about $1,200 each. Cravens said that tasers are a less lethal defense than firearms, and are safer for both officers and those who they are trying to arrest. The tasers are equipped with video cameras which Cravens described as a sort of insurance liability policy. “It keeps checks and balances,” he said. “Of course, our goal is to never have to use them.”

In 2007, the sheriff’s department returned $78,000 to Henry County and projects it will be able to do so again in 2008.

“We found that we can make a lot of changes and still be able to give money back to the county,” Cravens said.

E-mail us about this article at news@hclocal.com