To the editor:
Much has been said during this election for Sheriff of Steve Hoffman being an “outsider”. I think we need to put this in perspective. First of all, someone who has lived more of his life in Jasper County than out, probably doesn’t qualify as an “outsider”. Secondly, it certainly isn’t like he has been away to some far off land. In fact, he has just been about fifteen miles away. Roughly the same distance as it is from Baxter or Prairie City to Newton. Steve Hoffman and his opponent are both from Newton. Both moved away from Newton and Steve just happened to move across an imaginary line that divides two adjoining counties.
A close look at law enforcement in Jasper County will show rather easily that being an “outsider” or leaving and coming back is not all that uncommon. Jim Greve was a very popular police chief in Newton, became the first appointed Clerk of Court and went on to be a very well-respected city councilperson. He initially came to Newton as an “outsider” from Clinton, Iowa. The current Newton Chief of Police is not from Newton, but has done a fine job as an “outsider”. Many of our city leaders may not have lived here all of their life, but are well respected and vital parts of our communities.
If you look at the Newton Police Department you will find that six out of twenty-three officers are from Jasper County, but I believe only one is actually from within the city limits of Newton. A lot of “outsiders”.
If you look at the smaller police departments throughout the County you will only find one Chief who is from Jasper County. Out of twelve full-time law enforcement officers in surrounding Jasper County communities, only three are from Jasper County. The rest are “outsiders”.
If you look at our Sheriff’s Office, you will find that seven of thirteen deputies are not lifelong residents. Four of the thirteen deputies are “outsiders” and three other deputies left Jasper County for other law enforcement jobs and then came back home (sound familiar).
Is there anything wrong with being an “outsider”? Not in my book. “Outsiders” can bring in new ideas and a breath of fresh air to any organization.
I hope that all voters will give this some thought and put the whole “outsider” thing into perspective. I have talked with Steve about these perceptions and asked him about his views on various topics. We have a candidate in Steve Hoffman who is ready to come back home and serve the citizens and visitors of Jasper County with Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect.
I have chosen to support Steve Hoffman for Jasper County Sheriff and I hope you will as well.