The idea of building a jail suggested itself to the Allen County Commissioners in October of 1831 when they appointed Sheriff Henry Lippencott to prepare plans for fixing some place of confinement for Uri Martin, who was under arrest as an insane person.
The construction contract read “The Jail, to be composed of timber 12 inches thick. The walls, 14 feet long. The walls to be solid. The upper story to be 9 inches thick. Each story to be 7 feet high. The building to be roofed with lap shingles, to show one foot to the weather. One window in each story of six panes, 8” X 10” with bars one inch square, three inches apart. The builder to furnish all materials except the locks. Payment to be made when the work is completed.”
A contact was entered into with David Tracy, July 1, 1833 to erect the building for $179.00, to be located on the north east corner of lot #88, in the town of Lima, Allen County, Ohio. The building was to be completed by November 11, 1833.
In 1870 construction began on a new Allen County Courthouse, located on the northwest corner of North and Main Streets in Lima, Ohio. In addition to the Courthouse, a small two story brick German style building was built at 133 West North Street, which became the residence of the Sheriff of Allen County. When elected, the sheriff was allowed to move into this residence along with his family. This residence had an attachment to the Allen County Jail. A small makeshift office was also located towards the rear of the residence which allowed the sitting sheriff to conduct his business affairs without disturbing the rest of the family. Also, as custom, the sheriff’s wife would become matron of the jail, taking care of all female inmates and also preparing meals for all inmates incarcerated within the Allen County Jail.
Approximately eighty years later, circa 1960, major renovations were started to the Allen County Jail. Since the notorious incident of the murder of Sheriff Jess L. Sarber and the escape of John Dillinger in 1933, the Allen County Jail was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Because of this fact the exterior of the building could be changed, but major security issues need to be addressed. The architect came up with an ingenious plan to renovate the inside of the building without disturbing the exterior of the building. The flat roof of the jail was removed and the insides of the building were removed through the roof of the building. Renovations were completed and another flat roof was added to the top of the jail. A total of sixty (60) inmates could be housed at one time in this facility. Along with this renovation, the old Sheriff’s residence was raised and a modern (1950’s style) two-story building was added to the front grounds of the jail. This Sheriff’s Office and Jail remained this way until 1989 when ground was broken for a new justice center, housing the Common Pleas Courts, the Allen County Sheriff’s Offices, and the Allen County Jail.
In May of 1990, the new Allen County Justice Center was dedicated and opened for business. The new Allen County Jail touted a state of the art correctional facility. Its modern design of campus lifestyle with direct and indirect supervision was second to none. It is virtually a “keyless” facility with a main control room personnel acting much like an air traffic controller in a modern airport, allowing access to secured areas of the facility. This Correctional Center was planned to house no more than two hundred and ten inmates at one time, almost triple from the previous Jail. Because of this influx of inmates, a correctional officer staff was added to the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. An initial total of 35 officers were added to the staff of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. We are very grateful to those citizens of Allen County who supported the effort to modernize the Allen County Jail, and its correctional office programs.
On May 29, 1985, the Ohio State Senate passed House Bill 491 which was signed into law by governor Richard F. Celeste on June 18, 1985. That bill provided for indirect subsidy by the Senate of the initial costs of the various telephone companies for what was intended to become a statewide 9-1-1 public safety emergency dispatching system.
At the time the bill was passed, the original sponsors of the bill estimated it would or could be twenty years, which would be 2005, before the 9-1-1 service was available throughout the state of Ohio.
In early 1986, the Allen County Commissioners were approached by Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Leech to explore the possibility of establishing a countywide 9-1-1 telephone system. The Leeches did this due to a tragic event that occurred in their lives on Shawnee Road in which an emergency response was delayed because no one could remember the seven-digit telephone number to the Shawnee Township Fire Department.
On March 18, 1986, the Allen County Commissioners passed a resolution formally establishing the Allen County 9-1-1 Planning Committee headed by Commissioner Donald A. Reese. This committee was formed to evaluate several types of 9-1-1 systems and recommend the best plan for the Allen County system. From this committee a sub-committee, which was named the Allen County 9-1-1 Technical Planning Committee, was formed of thirty-seven members and chaired by John C. Brookman, Chief of the Lima Fire Department. This committee was charged with the responsibility of developing a plan of implementing a countywide 9-1-1 system for Allen County. All our fire department chiefs were given the opportunity to review the recommendations made by the Technical Planning Committee. Allen County’s final plan was written by the Technical Advisory Committee, representing a 16 month effort by those committee members and defined how, when, and where a 9-1-1 system should be established within Allen County.
On March 17, 1988, the Allen County Commissioners named a seven member committee to govern the operational procedures of the Allen County E9-1-1 telephone system. This committee, which was recommended by the Allen County 9-1-1 Technical Planning Committee, was formed to oversee and set operational policies of the Allen County E9-1-1 Emergency Telephone System. It consisted of representatives of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, the Lima Police Department, the Ohio State Highway Patrol Post #2, the Allen County Firefighters Association, a member from the most populous Allen County township and a representative from the city of either Delphos or Bluffton. The representatives of this board serve a two (2) year term and are still in effect to this date. Allen County Emergency Management Agency Director J. Tom Tilson, was appointed chairman of the Allen County 9-1-1 Governing Board.
The Allen County 9-1-1 Governing Board decided to name an Allen County 9-1-1 Coordinator to oversee and implement the concepts created by the Allen County 9-1-1 Technical Advisory Committee. Allen County Sheriff Charles W. Harrod nominated a member of his department,
Deputy Timothy G. Garlock as the Allen County 9-1-1 Coordinator.
In May of 1998, Deputy Garlock was assigned to this position while remaining a member of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Garlock was to act as a “central point of contact” with other governmental and business leaders concerning the Allen County E9-1-1 Telephone System. He was also charged with evaluating 9-1-1 equipment and oversee its installation at both PSAP locations, develop critical operational policies and procedures adopted by the Allen County 9-1-1 Governing Board as a standard for operation for both PSAP locations, supervise training both sets of Communication Operators on those policy and procedures, establishing emergency response zones within Allen County and writing a countywide master street address database to answer to the Allen County 9-1-1 Governing Board.
On December 13, 1989, the Allen County E9-1-1 Telephone System was activated. A kick-off breakfast was held at the Allen County Veteran’s Memorial Civic Center. Many local government, city officials, and business leaders attended. The first official 9-1-1 call was ceremoniously made by Mrs. Thomas Leech.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Canine Unit was first started in 1972 under the direction of Sheriff Edward L. Fair.
Three first three deputies assigned to the Allen County K-9 Division were Cpl. Daniel N. Protsman, Dep. Dennis Briggs, and Dep. Harold Davenport. These officers were assigned to receive training in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where after completion, the three handlers and three canines were certified as police K-9s.
Many Deputies in the past few decades that the Sheriff’s Office K-9 has been established, have spent countless hours training and handling these animals.
Bruce Clayton and Inox (2019-2021)
Bruce Clayton and Echo (2016-2019)
Shawn Felder and Zeus (2015-2019)
Terry Sneary and Bok
Roy Brock and Rock
Roy Brock and Hank
Ted McPheron and Simba
Brian Miller and Tanner
Denise Hoverman and Nitro
Dana Sutherland and Sicira (2006-2008)
Don Chiles and Sicira (2008-2012)
Bill Dickerson and Cliff (2008-2013)
Gary Hook and Ara (2007-2010)
Tim Lee and Bart
Kevin Litsey and Dusty
Eric Pugh and Camp
Jason Deaton and Cliff
Daniel N. Prostman and Kelly
Harold Davenport and Bear
Denny Briggs and Smokey
Kenny Lamb and Max
Roger Bice and Baron
Ron Schultz and Baron
Ron Schultz and Max
Ron Schultz and Cobo
Darrel Pugin and Joe
Paul Basinger and Smokey
Tim Garlock and Mac
Mark Paulus and Bruiser
Tom Martin and Kelly
Dan Zimmerly and Berry
Tom McNamara and Spike
Tom McNamara and Cobo
Mark Curtis and Berry
Jerry Morris and Max
Matt Rumer and Nero
Matt Rumer and BachTerry Sneary and Ben
Terry Sneary and Blake
Bill Dickerson and Storm (1998-2003)
Kevin Jones and Ace
Kevin Jones and Blake
Matt Redick and Simba
Al Gill and Charlie
Gene King and Bear
Gene King and Buck
William Blank and Axe
Jim Jones and Shadow
Paul Basigner and Chico
Dennis Rode and Lucky
Mike White and Joe
Mike White and Spike
Zane Ditto and Bruiser
Brett Lee and Bruno
Brett Lee and Belcher
Phil Sherrick and Tommie
Phil Sherrick and Ike
Mark Curtis and Tommy
Gary Collins and Shadow
Gary Collins and Wolfe
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. team was formed in the spring of 1989 by Sheriff Charles W. Harrod and consisted of five members. Since that time it has grown to a team of sixteen members and has even obtained certified medical doctors trained in tactical trauma injuries throughout S.W.A.T.’s history.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. team has received training from the Ohio State University S.W.A.T. team, members of the Columbus Police Department S.W.A.T. team, the Ohio State Peace Officers Training Academy in London Ohio, and Tactical Defense Institute.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. team trains for responses in hostage rescue, high risk warrant service, barricaded suspects, and drug warrant service.
As former S.W.A.T. member, Sheriff Matthew Treglia, is a firm believer in providing service for those that need it; therefore other agencies throughout the state of Ohio have utilized the services of the Allen County Sheriff’s Office S.W.A.T. team to assist them in high risk incidents.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team was initially formed in 1985, under Sheriff Charles W. Harrod.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team is a multiagency team specializing in recovery efforts where critical pieces of evidence have been hidden in bodies of water. This team responds to calls for assistance from any safety service agency in Northwest Ohio.
The original concept of a non-military bomb squad was thought up in the late 1960s into the early 1970s as a response to the increase of radical groups within and threatening the United States. Many of those groups had begun the use of explosive devices as part of their protests. That need was addressed with the opening of the first “Civilian Bomb Squad School” in Huntsville, Alabama at Redstone Arsenal. That original school is now known as the FBI Hazardous Device School.
In 1971, the first local bomb squad was formed at the Lima Police Department. Through the years the squad assisted local, state and federal agencies on a variety of different types of calls. Calls for service have ranged from MacGyver type (soda bottle bombs), ammo pick-ups, fireworks, military and commercial explosives, improvised explosive devices, and presidential security details.
As time passed and the types of explosives increased in sophistication, the need for advancements in equipment and training to keep combat those items was needed. The days of a bomb technician going “hands on” to render suspect devices safe has passed. Today trained technicians use a variety of tools to safely do the job. Technicians now receive training in Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to include chemical, biological, and radiological devices; hazardous duty robotics and other advanced techniques.
In 2008, the need for a truly regional bomb squad was realized. That need was met with the squad’s command structure moving to the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. The squad is now comprised of members from the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, the Lima Police Department, and the Lima Fire Department. This move allowed the Squad to adequately cover twelve counties in northwest Ohio. The move also allowed for the squad to be fully integrated with Allen County’s HAZMAT Team. When the Bomb Squad responds it has the capability of bringing not only highly trained advanced bomb technicians to the scene, but also specialized robotics technicians, explosive-detecting canines, and hazardous material technicians as a single unit, thus saving precious time while providing the maximum public safety response.
The Allen County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse was formed as a non-profit organization in 1963 under Sheriff Clay T. Cotterman. All mounted deputies have completed the required training as police officers through the Ohio Peace Officer’s training Academy and are in good standing with the Allen County Sheriff’s Office. The Mounted Deputies are financially responsible for the purchase and up keep on their own equipment, horse, tack, vehicle, and trailer. Also, this division includes several pieces of motorcycle equipment. These motorcycles are personally owned and it is the deputy’s responsibility for their maintenance.
These officers are mostly seen by the public during funeral processions but also provide escort security during VIP visits and traffic control services during functions held throughout Allen County.