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Mellinger announces run for county sheriff

Randy Mellinger made it official Thursday afternoon as he announced that he is seeking the Republican nomination for LaGrange County Sheriff.

The 20-year veteran of the department outlined his plan for the department, first noting that he would “treat the sheriff’s department as a business and the citizens as the shareholders.” The priority would be to listen to the public’s concerns and address those issues.

With the continued use and manufacturing of meth in the county ranking as a high priority issue, Mellinger wants to have “all facets of the county’s criminal justice system work as a team to slow the production and use of meth.” A lot of that would come down to working to stop repeat offenders. Mellinger would like to see using probation terms and tighter controls on those arrested to work to stop repeat offenses.

Along with working with the departments within the county, Mellinger has a history of working with departments from around the region and sees that as a strong asset in working on issues like meth. “I can call on other departments I’ve done other work with to share information,” he noted.

Mellinger has worked with other counties in the area for years as part of the Northeast Indiana SWAT team. He was in the first group that attended SWAT school in 2004.

Mellinger said Thursday that he would prepare “law enforcement and emergency services for the worst and pray for the best.” By training for “impossible” situations, he added, the departments can work through the situation and find areas that need corrected. “I see us getting all of the fire departments, police departments, medics, involved in a county disaster drill, maybe once a year,” Mellinger stated.

Mellinger also pointed to keeping deputies in the department as one of his goals. He understands the stress of the job and why other jobs may be more appealing. He hopes to be open with employees and work to remove as much of that stress within the department as he can.

Mellinger has a long list of specialized training through the department. He started his career in law enforcement as a reserve officer with the town of LaGrange in 1988 and went to the sheriff’s department a year later. He joined the department full time in 1992. He has specialized training in accident investigation and as a field training officer, training new deputies as they start service. He also worked with the county‘s K-9 unit from 1999-2005 after attending K-9 training in Allen County.

Mellinger is a lifelong resident of LaGrange County and is married to Janine Mellinger. They have a daughter, Michaela, and a son, Eric.