Inmates get boats shipshape

Program puts Ottawa County jail prisoners to work
Alex Green
Apr 3, 2014


Chris Kingler, an Ottawa County inmate, was naturally skeptical about being in the newspaper again.

“I guess it’s a different kind of story” he said.

He was part of a group of six inmates who got the county’s patrol boats in tip-top shape for the upcoming season.

Adding to the irony — the inmates helped law enforcement, the very men who initially locked them up.

But the relationship between the two groups was seemingly positive.

“I’m really proud of these guys,” Ottawa County Sheriff Stephen Levorchick said. “You can go out, get a better job. And keep your butt out of jail”

The work was mostly restoration of the county’s 32-foot and 27-foot Boston Whalers — county equipment since 2011 and 2006 respectively.

One was awarded to the county as part of an Ohio Department of Natural Resources grant, the other through Homeland Security.

While much of the work was cleaning up grit and grime, the men also replaced the bow of one of the boats with fiberglass.

With nearly 100 miles of lake shoreline to go with the county’s love affair with lake activity, securing the water during the spring and summer is paramount to Levorchick.

“Why wouldn’t we (secure it tightly)?” he asked. In recent years, boaters have become frustrated with the seeming abuse of power in the waters by law enforcement. But Ottawa County deputies are bound by state law to report any and all incidents on the lake, unlike federal agencies such as the U.S. Border Patrol. The infamous agency is able to search and seize as it pleases without any obligation to convey the information to the public.

Deputies cited or arrested 12 boaters in all of 2013. The boats are not used to invade boaters’ privacy, Levorchick said. They are a necessity to a county with so much shoreline. So as the lake transforms back from its icy state, Levorchick and deputies are confident in their water toys.

David Nunn, incarcerated at the Ottawa County jail, was straightforward in his assessment of the work. “We took a negative and turned it into a positive” he said. “It’s been a privilege”


Whiskey Tango F...

Harbor nazis!


let them all out they are up standing citizens..

super clean

Good job guys least its helpin time go by


Good for them, doing something productive.


Great! As said before all counties need this kind of scenario. All benefit from this.


what a great pic that would be to show their grandkids! Hey look there's your grandpa when he was helping clean police boats while in jail!


Gotta admit, thats funny!


Really unassumer? Really? They shouldn't be recognized for a job well done? Maybe this sort of positive reinforcement will help these guys want to stay on the right side of the law when they're released.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Agreed. Presuming that these guys use this project and their time in jail to lead a better life later, this photo would actually be an outstanding one to show a grandchild. It would not only be a lesson in how to live a better life but to show that you can still have pride and dignity while enduring something that is otherwise shameful or seen as antisocial.

From "The Shawshank Redemption":

Red: [narrating] We sat and drank with the sun on our shoulders and felt like free men. Hell, we could have been tarring the roof of one of our own houses. We were the lords of all creation. As for Andy - he spent that break hunkered in the shade, a strange little smile on his face, watching us drink his beer.

Darwin's choice

Drinking "Stroh's" brew...!!!


I agree with previous comments, it makes sense to me, to utilize the offender's "spare" time for community clean up,painting,(pothole repair)and similar tasks. I frequently hear the reason basic infrastructure is not properly maintained is lack of funds and manpower ,well here is a solution. It is no benefit to society or the people incarcerated to sit in jail all day. Maybe the offenders could get extra credit on time served plus boost their self esteem by putting in 8 hours doing something worthwhile. When this idea is brought up ,I frequently hear the reason for not implementing this program here in Erie Co. or Sandusky City are liability issues if the inmates get hurt, which seems a little off. How did Ottawa Co. address this issue and could our law enforcement agencies contact them for advice? thanks for positive comments


This is a great program, If it helps these guys get on the straight an narrow good!!!

yea right

in other words.. working of the money that supports them in jail..not a "program" I think any all jail cell buddies who are able and pose no serious threat should work outside the jailhouse