Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

March 28, 2014

Sheriff leaves post earlier than expected

Tom Grills’ last day as Ripley County sheriff is March 31. As a constitutionally-elected official, he had to submit a resignation letter to Gov. Mike Pence, Grills reported March 26.

The 38-year-old’s next job will be a compliance agent for a private company, overseeing employees and equipment logistics. Grills said he will remain living in Batesville.

When asked why he decided not to finish his second four-year term, the Republican replied, “There are a lot of political unknowns. The one thing that really drove me to retire was the simple fact that this company offered me an employment package I could not turn down.”

The sheriff was torn about the job change. “It was hard to leave law enforcement because I always saw myself as a ... career officer. I’ve got a lot of training and experience and knowledge.” Before serving seven years and three months at the top job, Grills spent 14 years with the Ripley County Sheriff’s Office.

When asked what he’s proud of, Grills said installing new exterior doors on the old jail and integrating them with new jail doors “was a huge accomplishment” from a safety standpoint. “There have been a lot of good things,” ranging from increased staff and training to an upgraded Web site and better cameras in police vehicles. The training budget increased from $900 to $15,000, “all done with inmate money. It didn’t cost the taxpayers a penny.”

He initiated the Nixle method of free e-mail and text message alerts, which spread to Indiana State Police, school districts and other entities. “Everybody’s coming on board with it.” The sheriff added, “I’ve been in the schools,” educating students about public safety.

Reflecting on his tenure, he maintained, “The most important thing is I came through with my campaign promises. There were things I discussed I would like to do, like the drug task force, ... but that cost a lot of money and manpower. When you don’t have the teamwork from other elected officials to work toward that common goal ... some of your pursuits don’t come to fruition.”

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