Tools to help the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office communicate with certain groups in the community was a topic of discussion during the Merit Board meeting Wednesday.

Capt. Travis Marsh said KCSO received a call from the Autism Society of Indiana and the sheriff’s office is going to get some autism communication boards. It will help officers communicate with nonverbal autistic children.

It is a trifold and there are pictures the children can point to help them communicate. There is a picture of a keyboard and, if an officer asks the child a question, they can type the answer on a keyboard, he said.

KCSO is sharing information about the boards to other agencies.

KCSO’s use of force and the weapons they use also was a topic of discussion.

The topic was brought up because Sgt. Travis Shively informed the Board KCSO received a call over a felony warrant service in Syracuse. The person the warrant was being served to had barricaded himself into an attic.

He said use of force has been a big concern for law enforcement. He let the Board know what types of weapons KCSO uses in those types of scenarios in the last couple of years. He said KCSO has a lot of different options, but KCSO has been able to get gas masks, pepperball guns and pepper spray through grant money.

After the 2-1/2-hour incident in Syracuse, Shively said KCSO was able to get the person out of the attic without any injuries. KCSO didn’t have to destroy anything and was able to use time on the agency’s side. Shively said KCSO is doing everything it can to use force as it needs to be used but in a way that allows people to come out unharmed.

In the Syracuse situation, due to the heat, it became a health issue, he said. It went from a warrant service to a welfare check.

In other business, the Board:

• Learned the Stop Arm Violation Enforcement (SAVE) Grant Program will begin Monday and go to Sept. 15.

 • Heard an update on Camp H.E.R.O. About 110 children attended this year, as compared to about 106 last year. At least 10 deputies participated.

• Learned about some issues at the jail.

The jail kitchen had water coming up from the drains last week and pooling on the floor. There was a cast iron pipe that collapsed under the kitchen floor. That issue is being worked on.