"I'm going to start slow, and see what I've got."
McPherson County has a new sheriff, but for the most part, Sheriff Jerry Montagne intends to keep things the same for now.
Montagne was sworn into office Monday morning, along with other public officials who won elections in November. He brings 33 years of law enforcement experience to the office, including 26 years with the McPherson Police Department and time as a senior deputy sheriff for the Nemaha County Sheriff's Office.
"I'm going to start slow, and see what I've got," Montagne said.
Montagne named Skyler Christians to be his undersheriff. Christians earned an associate's degree from Cloud County Community College and a bachelor's degree in criminal justice with a minor in sociology from Washburn University. He has 10 years of law enforcement experience with the Fort Scott Police Department and the McPherson County Sheriff's Office.
"I'm excited for this transition and to continue to serve the citizens of McPherson County," Christians said. "It's a great department, and I hope to see great things. I think Jerry will do an outstanding job, and I'm excited to be a part of it."
Montagne said he doesn't expect to make any immediate changes in the department, though he hopes to be active in patrols so people can see their sheriff at work.
"I want to be personal, and I hope to be seen more throughout the county," Montagne said.
He also wants to phase in the use of breath tests when a driver is suspected of driving under the influence.
"Right now they draw blood, and using breath tests should save money," he said.
Montagne intends to review department policies to make sure the department is using best practices. He also wants to provide jail personnel with tasers to expand their options if an inmate needs to be controlled.
"We were taught at the sheriff's school that the jail is a sheriff's number one priority, along with civil process at the courthouse and providing backup for county law enforcement," he said. "I have a lot of personnel in the jail, so I want to make sure they're safe."
One thing that won't change is the DARE program. Montagne said Sheriff's Department Capt. Doug Anderson will continue as the department's DARE officer, and that he will also keep the department's K9 unit.
"I'm anxious, excited and confident," Montagne said. "I'm looking forward to doing good things. I wouldn't have filed to run if I didn't think I could do a good job."