Sheriff Dwayne Carey took another step this week in what he says is an effort to make the department safer.
Carey won approval Thursday afternoon from the Boone County Commission for a budget amendment to allow the purchase of a gun safe. Carey took over as sheriff on Jan. 1. While examining the department, he discovered that a member of a firearm committee was storing about 15 department-owned guns at a private residence.
Carey said the number of the department’s unused guns usually isn’t that large. There are currently more unused firearms because five deputy positions are open. Each deputy requires two guns.
“I wanted to bring the guns back to the department, but there’s no place in there to secure shotguns,” he said.
Boone County Presiding Commissioner Keith Schnarre said he feels the weapons should be secured and locked at the sheriff’s department.
“It kind of caught me by surprise the other day,” he said, referring to a discussion of the matter on Tuesday. “They need to be stored at the facility.”
Carey said the Sheriff’s Office headquarters includes an armory, but it’s accessible to several people.
“I just don’t want guns and ammunition accessible to anyone in case that door isn’t locked,” he said.
After the department buys the safe, it will be placed inside the armory, and the guns will be locked inside. Carey said this would prevent someone from accessing guns and ammunition at the same time.
Having a large number of guns in a private residence is a bad idea, Carey said, but the Sheriff’s department is a “take-home vehicle” department. This means deputies drive their cars — and the accompanying guns and equipment — to their homes when off duty.
“We do have to house equipment in our personal homes,” Carey said. “It’s part of the job.”
Carey said the department is also filling open deputy positions to reduce the number of unused guns.
In other business, the commission approved the sale of a tract of land at Old 63 and Bluff Creek Drive. Schnarre said the tract is less than an acre.
“It’s a non-useable piece of property to the county,” he said.
Schnarre said the property was formerly an easement required by the state. B&E Investments bought it for $85,000, but would not comment on its plans for the land.