On 11-22-2016 I approached the Board of Supervisor’s with a request to add an additional Deputy to my staff. Currently there are 8 Deputies, including myself, responsible for 24 hour a day care and protection of Palo Alto County, some 576 square miles. By law, the Sheriff’s Office is responsible for a multitude of non-law enforcement issues along with all the duties normally associated with a law enforcement agency.
Our statistics have gone through the roof the past several years. When comparing projected stats for 2016 to those of 2010 here is what will occur:
Calls for service will have increased by 16%
Incidents as outlined by FBI regulations will have increased by 32%
Arrests will have increased by 98%
Traffic Citations will have increased by 131%
Jail Population will have increased by 10%
Deputy Transports will have increased 230%
Emergency Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committals will have increased 90%
We have been fortunate these increases have been absorbed by our current staffing but it is becoming more difficult to fill these emergency needs while conducting our other responsibilities. I am requesting the additional Deputy to fulfill these and future needs. This additional Deputy will not only allow us to attack the existing needs, but will also give us the manpower that is needed to tackle additional drug investigations and school programs.
Red Ribbon week activities, finger printing, stranger danger, 911 calling and drug and alcohol talks used to be addressed in the schools. These programs have been greatly reduced as manpower has been shifted to other areas.
A recent 3 ½ month drug investigation by the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office and the Iowa Great Lakes Drug Task Force resulted in the arrest of two people on state drug charges. Working with the Palo Alto County Attorney’s Office, these charges were dropped as a Federal Prosecutor saw the need to prosecute federally. The two individuals involved in this case recently filed guilty pleas in federal court.
A recent personal injury accident resulted in two individuals being transported by air to separate hospitals. The investigation by the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office consumed 49 hours of manpower. The investigation still has not been completed pending additional DCI lab results. When completed, addition man hours will be need to charge, arrest and prosecute the case.
The two above situations are prime examples of how time can be consumed and the stress these situation places on the availability of Deputy staff and their time. Increasing the Deputy staffing to 9 will distribute this burden and will allow time for other investigations, school programs and the multitude of other ever so increasing requests for assistance and required duties.
Currently, Palo Alto County has single Deputy coverage 70 hours a week, or 41% of the time and the additional Deputy will greatly reduce this figure. This additional Deputy will increase the Sheriff’s Office ability to better respond to calls in a reactive approach to law enforcement, but more importantly will allow a more proactive approach to law enforcement. This will enhance the safety of citizens and Deputies alike.
The need for law enforcement continues to grow in our county and throughout the country. One only needs to watch the news or read legitimate posts on social media to familiarize yourself with concerning incidents. For this reason and other issues, 50 other counties in the State of Iowa have added one or more Deputies to their staffing since 2010, with a majority of them being added since 2012. This is not an issue with, “keeping up with the Jones’,” but is based on our statistics, desire and duty to fulfill our pledge to serve and protect.
The decision on whether or not to hire an additional Deputy has not been made. I have been asked to return to the Board of Supervisors at a later date as time did not allow me to fully present my case on your behalf. Please take this time to contact your Supervisor with your thoughts and desires.
Your support of the Palo Alto County Sheriff Office is incredible now, and has been for years. A law enforcement agency is most effective with citizen support and backing, and we have that. I hope you will support this request, a request I do not take lightly, but a request I feel I have the DUTY as your SHERIFF to make.
Lynn J Schultes
Palo Alto County Sheriff