Budget constraints mean meager resources, Embrey says. “Our officers do not have dash cams, which would help a great deal in many cases. We lack some of the cutting edge technological tools that make investigating much easier and productive. …
“The volume of cases in the courts is astounding, expensive and hard to understand. All of us in the system ask why. Drug cases in particular are overwhelming at times. We had the seventh highest number of meth labs busted in Indiana in 2012, and Indiana was third highest in the nation. It is even higher this year.”
Because of the increasing number of arrests and the expansion of jails and prisons, he says, there is a trend among lawmakers toward minimizing the offenses that are filling prisons.
“I think in the next year there will be a new criminal code that greatly reduces drug penalties and penalties for non-violent crimes,” Embrey says. “Reducing, or eliminating, criminal sanctions for marijuana is an ongoing theme. While we do spend far too many resources pursuing marijuana, I still believe it to be a gateway drug in most small counties.”
Over four decades, Embrey has received numerous honors. Here are just three: the Robert J. Kinsey Award from the Juvenile Justice Task Force in 1985; a Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Gov. Orr in 1985, and the Peru Tribune’s Citizen of the Year for 1983.
Outside the courtroom, Embrey has been a well-known ringmaster for the Peru Circus since 1981 — thanks to his daughter, Shannon.
In 1981, when she was 7, she wanted to perform, so Embrey volunteered. Aside from being a ringmaster, he has served in several capacities, including president of the board.
The circus is one of several civic activities in which Embrey has been involved. He’s fulfilled roles with the United Way, Red Cross, YMCA and Leadership Miami County. He helped found and develop TEAM, a Miami County Youth Leadership Academy. He was also a founder of the International Circus Hall of Fame.