“No matter what the adversity was, we worked through it. It might not have been the most pleasurable thing for us to do, or it may not have been the easiest path for us to take, but everybody worked as one.” Sheriff Jeff Wilson
Mary Beth Sallee
Jobe Publishing, Inc.
Last year saw many agencies across the state of Kentucky temporarily halting services due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But for the hard-working men and women in law enforcement, the work never ceased.
That especially rang true for the Hart County Sheriff’s Department, even during the most difficult of times.
“I will say that last year was a very difficult year,” said Hart County Sheriff Jeff Wilson. “Our department had to adapt to the changes and unusual circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic.”
According to Sheriff Wilson, last year his department responded to triple the number of mental health calls.
“It was sad because all we could do is bring these people to the Sheriff’s Department,” Wilson said. “…Life Skills would no longer take patients, and I understand why they couldn’t. There were coronavirus outbreaks in the facilities at Western and Eastern State.”
“They would interview them through a Zoom meeting, and then we would take them back home,” Wilson continued. “It was just sad because we really couldn’t help them here.”
Responding to calls of domestic disturbances also proved to be more difficult than during a “normal” year.
“People have been quarantined because they have the coronavirus,” Wilson explained. “They stay home. Their mental health is not what it was. Relationships are not what they were. They get into a fight. Then, they call the police.”
Sheriff Wilson stated that his deputies have responded to calls of domestic disturbances at the homes of individuals who have COVID-19.
“I’m worried about the safety of my officers because I don’t want them taking the illness back to their house, back to their wife and children,” Wilson explained. “And then, at the same time, we also can’t do anything with that individual causing the disturbance because they have corona…Basically you’re standing there trying to figure out what to do.”
But despite the additional challenges created by the pandemic, Sheriff Wilson said that his department continued to persevere by working together.
“We have a good working relationship with the Kentucky State Police, with Horse Cave Police, and with Munfordville Police,” Wilson said. “Throughout the past year, we have all worked together. There have been many times that I’ve called Captain Tim Adams with KSP and never has anyone refused. I called Chief Greg Atwell several times, and his officers have come out in the county and backed us up. Horse Cave Police, it’s been the same with them.”
It has also been within its own walls at the Sheriff’s Department that Wilson and his team have worked together to persevere through both professional and personal challenges.
“When everything started with the pandemic, we would have one to drop off because of being sick or somebody had to be gone here and there, but everybody pulled together just as a family would pull together,” Wilson said. “No matter what the adversity was, we worked through it. It might not have been the most pleasurable thing for us to do, or it may not have been the easiest path for us to take, but everybody worked as one, and we got through it.”
“Even though we were short-handed, even though coronavirus has gone on, I have not been able to be here quite a bit in the last couple of months due to personal reasons with my wife Tara,” Wilson added. “But I’ll be honest. Everybody here has taken care of me.”
Wilson said he and his department are also very appreciative for the community’s support during the pandemic.
“I would like to thank everybody,” Wilson said. “There have been so many people who have given us gifts and thanked us for doing our job. It has been very heartfelt that people showed us appreciation for still being here.”
Wilson has now served as Hart County Sheriff for two years, and his focus today remains the same as when he was first elected: serving the people of Hart County.
“We have been here from the very beginning, and we’re not going anywhere,” Wilson said. “If you call, we will be there. There will be somebody out at all times. If there is anything that we can do or anything we can help you with, call us and we will do our very best.”
Working together and serving others – that is what makes Jeff Wilson and the Hart County Sheriff’s Department the team that it is today.