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Local

‘A big step forward’

CIRTT formation is a go, pending Pella and Grinnell approval

Members of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office conduct a Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony. The local sheriff's office is joining forces with police departments in Grinnell and Pella to create a Central Iowa Regional Tactical Team (CIRTT) to better respond to specialty or high-risk calls in their areas.
Members of the Jasper County Sheriff's Office conduct a Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony. The local sheriff's office is joining forces with police departments in Grinnell and Pella to create a Central Iowa Regional Tactical Team (CIRTT) to better respond to specialty or high-risk calls in their areas.

Pending the final approval from the city councils of Pella and Grinnell, the two town’s law enforcement agencies will join forces with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office to form a Central Iowa Regional Tactical Team (CIRTT) to better respond to specialty or high-risk calls in their areas.

To move the process forward, the Jasper County Board of Supervisors voted 3-0 in favor of signing the 28E Agreement between the local sheriff’s office, Grinnell Police Department and Pella Police Department during its Tuesday morning meeting, allowing them to combine resources for this tactical team.

This CIRTT would be made up of select officers from each agency who are trained to resolve greater incidents. Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty previously told the Newton Daily News a tactical team would be better suited for carrying out high-risk search warrants or hostage and barricade incidents.

Per the agreement, the parties involved agree that “situations may arise regarding emergencies or circumstances which exhaust available local personnel and equipment.” Forming the CIRTT would, theoretically, guarantee an immediate staff pool to report to these types of incidents.

“We’re responsible for our own people and our own equipment, but we’re willing to help or share each other,” Halferty said. “I think this will be a big step forward. Not that it will be utilized a lot, but we want to have adequate staffing and resources if we’re going to respond to something like this.”

Creating the CIRTT does not dislocate or reassign the selected officers. According to the 28E Agreement, personnel “shall remain the employees of the jurisdiction from which they were assigned.” Likewise, Grinnell Police Chief Dennis Reilly said those individuals on the tactical team are continuing their designated daily job functions at their respective departments.

However, when the CIRTT is activated and called to a situation or an event, Reilly said officers will be relieved of their routine activity to report for duty elsewhere in Jasper County, Grinnell or Pella, the latter two of which are in the counties of Poweshiek and Marion, respectively.

“This is an opportunity for us to have immediate resources available in those situations where this type of specialized team would be necessary,” Reilly said, noting that CIRTT provides towns with a specialized team of officers with different skill sets to manage more unique events. “To me, it’s an additional security blanket for our respective communities.”

In addition to helping the community, Reilly believes the CIRTT will benefit the officers by providing them with job latitude. Now, officers have the opportunity to improve their skills and be involved in activities beyond investigative or regular patrol duties.

Halferty briefly described the CIRTT’s purpose to the supervisors last week when the board approved a conflict waiver recognizing all three agencies use the same law firm. Although Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. did not expect there to be a conflict of interest, the law enforcement entities were still required to inform their governing bodies.

If all goes according to plan, Halferty expects to have the CIRTT fully functional by spring 2020.

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or cbraunschweig@newtondailynews.com

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