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Local

Supervisors approve new pod construction at Jasper County Jail

Six reserve deputy sheriffs approved by board

Jasper County Buildings and Grounds Director Adam Sparks and Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty approached the board of supervisors Tuesday with a proposal to construct a new jail pod at the Jasper County Jail.
Jasper County Buildings and Grounds Director Adam Sparks and Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty approached the board of supervisors Tuesday with a proposal to construct a new jail pod at the Jasper County Jail.

Construction of a new pod at the Jasper County Jail could be underway “fairly quickly” after plans to move forward with the estimated $130,000 project were approved Tuesday by the board of supervisors.

Pending a final contract authorization from the board, Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty said the jail pod would increase the jail’s inmate occupancy to “either 92 or 94” people and would help alleviate a space shortage within the jail. Halferty said this would allow officers to move and separate inmates more easily.

Halferty and Jasper County Buildings and Grounds Director Adam Sparks both approached the board Tuesday about the project, seeking approval to allow the Des Moines-based contractor Baker Group to submit a final bid.

The board voted 2-0 to approve the move forward with Baker Group.

Earlier bids from other contractors were much higher than Sparks anticipated — the lowest at the time reaching $140,000. Sparks turned down those offers and sought advice from Des Moines-based architecture and engineering consulting firm Shive-Hattery before, ultimately, deciding on Baker Group.

At the meeting, Sparks said he had initially anticipated the project to cost approximately $100,000.

“There’s no way to get it to $100,000 unless we cut stuff out,” Sparks said.

To help ease costs, Sparks said some of the work can be completed in-house, such as purchasing and installing detention equipment like bunks, tables, mirrors and coat hooks for the jail pod.

The new facility will be built inside the currently unfinished pod at the jail, which was only partially constructed in 2005 and left untouched for budgetary reasons, Halferty said.

“They chose to not finish it,” he said. “They didn’t feel they would need it. So the infrastructure is already there, we just have to finish it off.”

The jail currently houses 35 to 40 local inmates, as well as 30 to 40 inmates for the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, which is currently constructing a new jail. Halferty said the Jasper County Jail could be holding Warren County inmates for another two to three years, making the construction of a new pod all the more critical.

“We’ve turned six to 10 inmates away for the last couple of weeks because we don’t have any room,” Halferty said. “Warren County is actually working well with us. If they have inmates that are doing minimum time or sentence time, they’ll work with some of their other jails they’re going to and they’ll come take some because we’ve been so full.”

Reserve Deputy Sheriffs

The board also approved the appointment of six reserve deputy sheriffs Tuesday for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.

“We had a huge applicant pool last year and we had a panel that (chief deputy sheriff) Duane (Rozendaal) headed up, and they selected some of the top six and put them through this training,” Halferty said. “They are a huge benefit and resource for us.”

Reserve deputy sheriffs are employed by the sheriff’s office to fill in gaps in their schedule during special events, such as local high school football games, school events, county fairs and Iowa Speedway. They also provide additional assistance during winter storms.

Reserve deputy sheriffs appointed by the board include Corey Van Kooten, a firefighter from Sully; Dennis Simon, human resource director for Jasper County from Newton; Joel Scabilion, a Newton firefighter paramedic from Baxter; Nathan Copenhagen, a firefighter from Baxter; Brandon Huggins, a Jasper County Jail officer from Newton; and Natasha Henry, a Jasper County Jail officer from Newton.

In other action Tuesday, the board:

• Approved 2-0 the Jasper County Sheriff’s fourth quarter report of receipts and disbursements.

• Approved 2-0 the Jasper County Sheriff’s fiscal year report of receipts and disbursements.

• Approved 2-0 the expanded alcohol service area at Fore Seasons Golf Practice facility from July 25 to July 26.

Contact Chris Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext 6534 or at cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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