Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty’s request for three additional deputies for his office was originally approved on May 20 and now, the first of those three, Ryan Engle, is up for consideration by the Jasper County Board Supervisors at Tuesday’s meeting.
“As I prefaced earlier this year, I sent a staffing request to the board for consideration to add certified deputy positions ... I felt I had some good numbers to show that we were well below not only the national average, but the state average,” Halferty told the board in May.
In addition to providing the board with statistics on the disparity between his office and similar sized county sheriff’s offices, Halferty explained to the board that this method would be the most effective way to protect the Jasper County Courthouse.
After a March incident in the Madison County Courthouse, Judge Arthur Gamble, the Chief Justice of the 5th District of Iowa — which Jasper County belongs to — made it a mandate that all courthouses in the district needed to make drastic improvements to its security measures.
Halferty felt by having more bodies his office could have a deputy dispatched to the courthouse for security and still be able to handle the various calls his office receives effectively. He said this measure would also prevent the county from having to lockdown the courthouse making it a less friendly environment for visitors.
“I’m not sure any of us in here want that,” Halferty said in May of the lockdown measures. “This is Jasper County, Iowa. We want this to be a friendly building. But on the other hand, what if we have a Madison County Courthouse issue — which could happen any day? So this is the battle we’ve been fighting.”
One of Halferty’s current deputies, Aaron Groves, applauded the board’s decision to approve of more deputies in a letter published in the Daily News in May.
“Several months ago, Sheriff John Halferty came to the board with documentation showing a need to add more deputies. You listened, looked at the facts and made a decision based on what is best for the citizens of Jasper County,” Groves wrote.
“Choosing to add more deputies is one that will be beneficial to the citizens of this county and will enhance the safety of all law enforcement officers within Jasper County. On behalf of the deputies at the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office and our families, we thank you.”
If Engle’s appointment is approved by the board, Halferty’s office would increase to 14 deputies and still have two more openings.
In other business:
• Representatives from U.S. Communities, a bulk purchasing entity for governing boards, will make a presentation to the board and ask the county to consider becoming a member.
• Norman Van Zante, a citizen, will present his concerns over drainage issues.
• Jasper County Human Resources Director Dennis Simon will present a resolution for two seasonal employees for the Secondary Roads Department
• Jasper County Deputy Auditor Teresa Arrowood will present an appropriations resolution for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
• Six citizens are asking for fireworks permits.
• A liquor permit is being requested for the Baxter Fun Days truck and tractor pull.
Senior staff writer Ty Rushing may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 426, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.