Pratt is back 'in uniform'

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Osceola County residents passing by the scene of an ongoing police investigation into a bank robbery in LeRoy recently may have experienced a certain sense of deja vu.

Didn’t Detective Sergeant George Pratt retire recently? What’s he doing with law enforcement officers checking out the scene, and talking with folks involved?

During the Feb. 7 session of the Osceola County Board of Commissioners, Osceola County Sheriff’s Department Undersheriff Justin Halladay asked that commissioners officially approve the creation of a new position that then allowed for the hiring of a special investigator and consultant at a starting deputy’s wage.

The request was unanimously supported by commissioners, and Pratt was hired for the job.

“George came on board and was almost immediately put to work on the LeRoy bank robbery case,” Halladay said.

The position will be limited to 500 hours per year, and the new OCSD investigator will only be used when need demanded.

The undersheriff explained that the OCSD has had a part-time detective’s position on the books for many years. The job slot, however, had not been utilized in quite some time.

“Until recently, we worked with the State Police Post quite closely. Our own detective also had a seasoned MSP detective to work with right here in our immediate neighborhood,” Halladay said. “With the retirement of Pratt and the reconfiguring of the MSP operation, the primary detective for our area is now based in Mount Pleasant. In effect, our county lost a detective when Pratt retired from MSP.”

After the initial request to commissioners for support and their approval, OCSD officials will now figure the salary of a part-time investigator into the annual budget in years to come.

Halladay reiterated that Pratt would be working on an “as needed” basis.

“It is great to have the expertise of a professional like George,” he said. “He has connections and a lot of knowledge about the area that will be invaluable to our department.”