Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting featured the first formal introduction of Popeye, the newest deputy in the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. The board approved the purchase order for the new K-9 narcotic detection dog on March 12.
“He sits when he is around narcotics,” Deputy Jeremy Burdt said. “He will be a great tool. I have not seen any aggression out of him. He’s great. He’s pretty much smarter than me at this point with all of his training,” he jokingly added.
Popeye was paid for by private donations and forfeiture funds, Sheriff John Halferty said. Halferty also noted that Popeye is, in fact, a deputy and is protected by Iowa Code under law enforcement and will be a great asset to the department, as he is trained in narcotics detection as well as rescue.
“With Interstate 80 right there, it’s no secret that a lot of things are going by there,” Halferty said.
“I think it’s great,” Board chair Dennis Stevenson added about the newest deputy.
Halferty and the board agreed to postpone any decision on the Community Oriented Policing Services grant for which he was seeking approval. Halferty noted the grant would pay for 75 percent of the cost for a county-wide school resource officer, and the county would have to cover the additional 25 percent for the first three years. A stipulation to receive the grant is that after the first three years, the officer must remain on for another 12 months, and the county would have to pay the entire cost of that additional year.
“I see a lot of possibilities with this (position). I also understand that cost would be a concern,” Halferty said in an interview. “I was a SRO 15 years ago, and it was one of the most rewarding parts of my career.”
If approved by the board next week and awarded the grant from COPS, the new SRO would visit schools in the Prairie City-Monroe, Baxter, Colfax-Mingo and Lynnville-Sully school districts. Newton has its own SRO, and Halferty said he thinks Newton has an excellent program and that an SRO could be a good deterrent to crimes in school.
Halferty also noted that citizens have taken a shine to the concealed weapon permits, and he estimated between 400 and 450 permits were sold since his last update to the board. He said the new plastic laminated card is very popular and that some citizens with paper permits are coming back for the plastic version. The cost for a paper permit is $50, and a plastic laminated permit costs an additional $10.
Halferty also updated the board on the new ATM machine in the lobby of his office. The department receives a 20 percent cut of the company’s collection of fees and has no obligations to the company other than hosting. Jasper County Auditor Dennis Parrott suggested to the board that the courthouse look for a similar arrangement.
“I have no problem with it,” Stevenson said.
“I think it’s a good idea,” board member Dennis Carpenter added.
In other business:
• The board approved the hiring of a part-time/temporary program coordinator for the conservation department. Carla Ingle will begin work on Wednesday at a rate of $10 per hour.
• Former Jasper County Sheriff Mike Balmer was reappointed as one of four medical examiner investigators at the request of Jasper County Medical Examiner Phillip Clevenger.
• County Engineer Russ Stutts’ resolution for a bridge embargo on 13 county bridges was approved. Stutt decided that some of the bridges needed to be closed, some repaired and others need to have their weight limit adjusted after his annual inspection.
• Oden Enterprises Inc. of Waterloo, Neb., was awarded the contract of supplying the county with 14 steel beams for a total cost of $19,461.12. Stutt noted the beams would be used in the repair of some of the aforementioned bridges.
Staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.