SPECIAL REPORT Part 3: Growing Pains - How Tippecanoe County is preparing for the future

Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said his department is already feeling the effects of a growing population. The population is expected reach 250,000 people by 2045.

Posted: Mar 21, 2019 7:00 PM
Updated: Mar 21, 2019 7:01 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said his department is already feeling the effects of a growing population. The population is expected reach 250,000 people by 2045.

In the third and final part of a News 18 special report, Sheriff Goldsmith talks about why he needs to get more people on his staff.

"Tippecanoe County is absolutely exploding," said Goldsmith. It's no secret but he said the challenge is finding ways to keep up.

"EMS, fire, police, everything is stressed and we're all trying to grow," he said. 

One of his goals in is new role as sheriff is to increase his staff. But before he hires more people, he first has to make sure the county can afford it.

"It just comes down to are the powers that be going to give you the funding you need to put the manpower on the streets."

Goldsmith said it's tough to put an exact number on what it will take to get the sheriff's department at full staff.

"Some statistics say we should have 90. Then you have what are we supposed to have working our jail and that will give you another number. You can run all these figures but I've had others tell me that you have to look at the needs of your community, do you really need that many people."

Goldsmith said he remembers the importance of adding staff every time he drives north of West Lafayette.

"With the situation of all these subdivisions going out in the county, the fact that our jail is very full a lot, our community is exploding in size, I think you can justify that we need a lot more officers on the streets."

He's relying on the Area Plan Commission to keep him in the loop, a relationship he says has room for improvement.

"Not necessarily meeting with area planners, just kind of word of mouth, you know a lot of times you don't really know anything until the building is going up," he said. 

APC's executive director Sallie Fahey said nothing will go up if the community can't handle it.

"If it's sort of beyond what we would consider our growth area, for practical purposes maybe not for forever it might just be premature, we do tell people that," she said. 

Fahey said when a developer presents a project, APC uses data from its long range plan to determine appropriateness. That plan goes through the year 2045.

It estimates growth and even has information related to the county's workforce. Goldsmith admits he hasn't looked through all of those plans, but he knows one thing for sure.

"They're going to build the houses and we're going to have to provide law enforcement to them. "

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