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NEW CASTLE, Ind. — The Henry County sheriff is bringing to the attention of state leaders that there are people in Indiana who are enforcing the law who may not be qualified to do so.

Sheriff John Sproles said he is seeing a rising trend in his county where smaller towns, like Shirley on the Hancock-Henry County line, are recruiting townsfolk to be “town marshals,” which is allowed under state law. Still, Sproles said recently they have been pushing the envelope.

“This is phenomenal, this is scary as all get out,” Sproles said on WISH-TV. “These guys are buying their own police cars, putting red and blue police lights on it. They will then lease it back to the town for a dollar, and (in return) the town will put police plates on it.”

Sproles said the issue is that the people who are doing this lately are people who are not fully and properly trained to be law enforcement officers, such as putting in the necessary hours and training at the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

“There are people out there patrolling in a police car, with a badge, with full police powers, with a gun, probably with a rifle and a shotgun … who might have 30 hours of classroom training,” he said.

To help mitigate the issue, Sproles said he eliminated his department’s deputy town marshal program, but individual towns that have a police department can still hire their own town marshals. He said there were close to 70 people with badges and full police powers in the county.

Sproles added that he had told towns with deputy town marshals that his department won’t respond to non-emergency calls in their towns.

Law enforcement leaders in these towns, like Shirley, say that it would be tough to keep a handle on crime if they don’t hire people to be deputy town marshals.