BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY INDIANA -- Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew A. Myers is pleased to announce that two veteran Columbus Police officers will serve as Reserve Deputies for the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office. 

Mike Brown, a member of the Columbus Police Department 1981 until 2005, served CPD as FTO (field training officer), Uniform Sgt., Department Training Coordinator, Lt. and Capt. in the Uniform Division and he was a 10 year member of the Emergency Response Team. Brown assisted in the implementation of the CPD Citizen’s Academy, the Take Home Car Program and created physical fitness standards. He created and implemented CPD’s Teen Driving Program. Currently, Brown is a certified instructor at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy in the following areas: EVOC, verbal Judo, STOPS, drill instructor, physical fitness instructor, and firearms instructor. He is also certified by the American Red Cross as an instructor for CPR, AED and first aid. He is a veteran of the U. S. Air Force retiring in 2004 with a combined 22 years of active and reserve service. He was assigned to the 434th security force squadron at Grissom Air Force Base and served in both Desert Storm and Operation Enduring Freedom. He and his wife, Laura, are members of the First Christian Church.

Mike Brown, a former Training Officer for the Columbus Police Department who currently works as an instructor at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy (left) and former Columbus Police Chief Jason Maddix, who is the North American Security Advisor for Cummins Engine Company are the newest members of the Bartholomew County Sheriff's Reserve Unit.

Former Police Chief Jason Maddix will also join Myers and Brown at the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office and will serve as a Reserve Deputy. After joining CPD in 1994, and taking a break between 2008 and 2009, Maddix retired from the Columbus Police Department while serving as Chief. During his 20 years of service, Maddix served in the Patrol Division; DARE instructor; FTO (field training officer); Firearms instructor; and was appointed Chief of Police by Columbus Mayor Kristen Brown. 

Maddix also served on the Police Pension Board and was a member of the city’s Audit and Review Committee. He has an Associate Degree in Law Enforcement from Vincennes University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from Indiana University. Currently, Maddix is employed by Cummins, Inc. as their North America Security Advisor. He and his wife, Tammy, are members of the First Christian Church.

Sheriff Matt Myers said “I am thrilled that Mike and Jason have been sworn-in as Reserve Deputies. Both have a very strong work ethic and together they bring more than 40 years of law enforcement experience to our Reserves. The Sheriff’s Office and the citizens of Bartholomew County will certainly benefit from their knowledge and their experience in law enforcement.”



BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY INDIANA -- Children have discovered the wonders of the internet. Online they can chat with like-minded people. They can play games against real people all over the world. With a cell phone, they can text friends or swap photos. On social networking sites, they can post a profile, music, photos, and messages. They can even get help with homework.

These are some of the joys of the Internet. However, there are also serious risks to consider. Today kids are often more computer-savvy than their parents. But while they may be skilled online, they are often in the dark about online safety. The following information provides guidance for adolescents, teens and their parents about the dangers of connectivity, and how to keep from being victimized.

Child Predators

Online child predators can interact with children through a variety of channels: computers, video games, handheld gaming devices and mobile phones. These tools make millions of people accessible at your child’s fingertips ... and vice-versa. Young people asserting their individuality online remain very vulnerable to predators. Their innocence, natural curiosity, desire for attention, ingrained trust in adults, and/or desire to rebel against their parents can lead them into the path of someone who could harm them.

Posting personal information can be dangerous in itself. But engaging in conversation online with people you don't already know can create new dangers. The anonymity of online communications allows would-be predators to alter their own personas. Teens who believe they are talking to other young people may be disappointed, at best, to find that their "friends" are actually middle-aged men.

What Kids Can Do

Activities that may seem fairly harmless to your child can lure the attention of predators. Here are some precautions your child can take — with your help — that may help him or her steer clear of predators.

Profile and content

The profile information and content you generate is critical. The images, opinions and personal information you share can be used by others to manipulate you, blackmail you, or literally locate you. Use a neutral profile photo that doesn’t show your face; consider a photo of an object or landscape. Never take nude or semi-nude photos of yourself or allow someone else to do so. Remember, anything you say or post can live forever online if re-posted by someone else.

Screen names

Select gender-neutral and age-appropriate screen names. You can inadvertently give out a lot about yourself with a screen name like “britt98” (Brittany, born in 1998?). Screen names that suggest sex, violence or drugs, which might seem fun or funny, can draw attention from the wrong people.

Privacy settings

On Facebook and other social sites, lock down your privacy settings so that only your approved friends can see your photos, video and updates. Leaving privacy open is like inviting strangers to tag along with you everywhere you go.

Friends list

While it may be tempting to build the largest friend list possible, to appear more connected or popular, you should only accept friend requests from people you actually know, and trust

Say no to creepers

If you are contacted, in any format, by someone you don’t know, do not respond. Use your settings to block that person from contacting you. Never agree to meet someone in person whom you met online. If you’re contacted by an adult you know, talk to your parents about the communication.

Posting is Forever

It's important for teens to realize that anything they post online, while editable, can be saved while it's live. Any user can save, keep or distribute photos or text. This means that sexual photos, photos depicting drug use, gang signs, threats against others or criminal behavior are all potentially permanent collector's items for their classmates, friends, enemies, parents and total strangers.

What Parents Can Do

Every child is different. Different ages, maturity levels and special circumstances will dictate what’s appropriate for each child. The most important thing parents can do is stay involved with kids’ online activities and help them understand the dangers. Sooner or later they’ll be on their own, and will need that foundation of online common-sense. Until then …

Keep a computer in a well-trafficked room in your home. Remember that smartphones are just small computers … limit private access to them as well.

Stay involved in your child’s online activities. Insist on access (including passwords!) to social networking, e-mail, texting and gaming. Check them periodically.

Find out what online safeguards are in place at your child's school, friends’ homes, and any other place where your child may be using computers or video games.
Consider downmarket mobile phones that don’t offer photo, video or Internet capabilities.

Remember, predators aren’t always strangers. “Grooming” by trusted adults plays a huge role in child predation. Watch for changes in your child’s relationships with adults. Adults who work with children and teens have professional boundaries; cultivating significant online or text-based relationships with individual children is not appropriate.

Other Dangers of Life Online 

Sexting Crimes

There are criminal implications for people (adults or juveniles) who possess sexual images or videos of young people. If you obtain the content from someone other than the original sender, or forward the content on to others, you could be charged with sexual exploitation of a child. This can result in jail time, and/or registration as a sex offender.

Nationwide, teens have faced charges, both for sending explicit photos and for possessing them. Although criminal charges are rare, they should be a consideration for anyone about to hit “send.”

Identity Theft

Sharing too much personal information online, such as full name and birthdate, may also allow a criminal to steal a user's identity. He could represent himself as you or apply for credit using your name.

Access to Pornography

There is a massive amount of free pornography online. Teens, especially teenage boys, with access to porn sites may develop an unhealthy concept of sex. Extremes in sexual behavior depicted online, or the sheer volume of the imagery, can consume a teen until reality becomes a distant memory. Porn addiction, sexual aggression and violence toward women can develop from unrestricted access to porn.

Burglars Use Social Media To Steal

Online sites such as Google Street View, Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare are being used by burglars to target our homes and businesses.

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BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY INDIANA -- Yesterday afternoon, January 27, 2015, at 4:57 p.m., Bartholomew County Deputies Detective Jason Lancaster and Detective Chad Swank ended a three-month investigation by arresting Gonzalo Ocampo-Velazquez, age 22, in the 100 block of West Main Cross Street in Edinburgh.

The Sheriff’s Office had been investigating Ocampo-Velazquez for making inappropriate contact with a 14-year old female, on multiple occasions over the last year, via Facebook. Ocampo-Velazquez was arrested on two counts of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor and he is being held in the Bartholomew County Jail on a $50,000 bond.

Sheriff’s Deputies were assisted by the Edinburgh Police Department in making the arrest. “Although there are many positives for using social media, parents need to be aware of the social media sites their children are using and they should educate their children about the dangers of social media as well”, said Sheriff Matt Myers.


BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY INDIANA -- Due to recent burglaries being reported in our county, The Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office would like to release the  below information as a reminder to residents. Also, please report any suspicous any suspicious persons and or activity to the Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center at 911. 


Common-sense home theft prevention tips

  • Store lock boxes or safes in a hidden area of the house. The basement or lowest level is recommended to reduce the risk of heat damage from a fire.
  • Keep all personal information (passports, financial statements, etc.) in a locked, fire proof safe or a safety deposit box.
  • Close curtains or blinds to prevent thieves from taking inventory of your personal belongings and seeing the home's layout.
  • Store ladders, tools and any other outside objects that can be used to assist in home entry in a locked shed or garage.
  • Keep garage doors closed and locked. If the garage doors have windows, put the garage door release cord away from those windows.
  • Replace worn keypad entry devices. After extensive use, the combination of numbers and letters could be visible, providing criminals with information that can be used to gain access to your home.
  • Change the home's entry device access code periodically to prevent wear.
  • Make sure the home’s address is visible for police, firemen and paramedics for easy identification of the home.
  • Don’t post the family name on the mailbox or on the house.
  • Don’t talk about vacation plans in public areas, such as the beauty shop, shopping mall or car rental office.
  • Secure a wireless network at home. Computer access could allow cyber criminals easy access to confidential personal information.
  • Before placing anything in the garbage, do the following:
  • Shred all papers.
  • Destroy old computer hard drives.
  • Break down all boxes for high value equipment. Brand names on boxes alert thieves to items inside the house.

Ways to keep thieves out of your home

  • Home security system – Deter thieves with noise or an automatic call to the police.
  • Proper outside lighting – Thieves may choose to bypass a well-lit home.
  • Strong exterior doors – Solid wood or metal provides stronger protection against break-ins.
  • Block windows for the basement or locked window well covers – Use these to keep thieves from seeing or entering your basement.
  • Locks for pet doors – Make sure your pet door isn’t a point of entry for a thief.

What burglary can cost you

  • A home burglary occurs approximately every 15 seconds in the United States.
  • On average, a home burglary results in a dollar loss of about $1,600.
  • About 30% of all burglaries are classified as "unlawful entry," meaning the burglar was able to gain entry without using force – often through an unlocked door or window.
  • Nearly 66% of all burglaries are residential, and of those, 62% occur during the daytime, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., when no one is likely to be at home.
  • Only 13% of reported burglaries are solved by the police.
  • About 30% of private homes have security systems. Homes without security systems are two to three times more likely to be broken into.



BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY INDIANA -- Sheriff Matt Myers wants all Bartholomew County residents to make certain that firearms in their homes are not accessible to anyone – especially children. “Firearms accidents in the home can be prevented simply by making sure that firearms are kept unloaded and safely stored, with ammunition secured in a separate location”, said Sheriff Matt Myers.

Project Child Safety is a nationwide program to help ensure safe and responsible firearms ownership and storage.  It was developed and is supported by the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry. Cable-style Gun Locks are currently available, at no charge, on a first-come, first-served basis, at the Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Office and may be picked up at the front desk during regular business hours Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Chief Deputy, Major Chris Lane and Bartholomew County Sheriff Matthew Myers display one of the gun locks availale through the Sheriff's Office.

These locks are intended to discourage unauthorized access to a firearm.  However, no safety or lock can be a substitute for safe, careful gun handling and storage. “Always make absolutely sure that firearms in your home are securely stored and out of reach of children and other unauthorized persons”, said Sheriff Myers.




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