The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office is in the process of developing a Central Iowa Regional Tactical Team alongside law enforcement officers from the nearby, out-of-county towns of Grinnell and Pella, Sheriff John Halferty announced to the Jasper County Supervisors during its Tuesday morning meeting.
All three area authorities identified a need for a centralized tactical team, which Halferty said was difficult to arrange adequate personnel for a special resources call. The sheriff’s office has been working alongside Pella and Grinnell for almost a year to create the tactical team, which would be made up of specific personnel from the departments.
“Once fully implemented, this CIRTT would be available to respond to any of our needs in Jasper County, and we would also assist Pella or Grinnell — very similar to fire and EMS services — which requires a 28 agreement,” Halferty said, noting County Attorney Scott Nicholson had been helping the sheriff’s office develop an agreement and follow correct procedures.
However, before the CIRTT is officially created through the 28E agreement, which would need to be approved by the board, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office needed the board of supervisors to approve and sign a conflict waiver so that all three agencies are aware that they use the Ahlers & Cooney, P.C. law firm.
In an email to Halferty, Pella Police Chief Robert Bokinsky and Grinnell Police Chief Dennis Reilly, the law firm does not expect there to be a conflict of interest but still asks that the Jasper County Board of Supervisors, Pella City Council and Grinnell City Council waive the conflict.
Halferty said, “Worst case scenario, if we needed their services and the other two are involved, the way I understand it, we may need to retain a different type of law firm. So this first step would be for you to approve that you’re being notified that they don’t see a conflict.”
If the waiver is approved, Halferty said he would like to present more CIRTT details to the Jasper County Board of Supervisors for approval. The board unanimously voted in favor of waiving and consenting “to any actual, potential or perceived conflict of interest associated with Ahlers & Cooney, P.C.’s representation of the City of Pella.”
So long as the board approves the 28E agreement between the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office, Pella Police Department and Grinnell Police Department by the end of September, Halferty said the parties will go through a selection process with qualified members who will have to undergo testing.
The county already has an established team of five deputies, but each agency would provide additional officers to train. Entries would have to perform at a higher level of physical fitness and firearms. Once they pass, these select individuals can become a task force officer, a patrol deputy or a school resource officer until there is a need for the tactical team.
Most common uses of a tactical team will be a high-risk search warrant or a hostage and barricade incident. Halferty said with the upcoming presidential election the CIRTT could provide extra protection or security for a building or site.
“This allows us to respond much quicker,” Halferty said. “… We don’t want to respond to something that serious without adequate staffing. We don’t want to put ourselves in that position. This is a win-win for everybody.”
Halferty hopes to have the CIRTT fully functional by spring of 2020 if all goes to plan. Already, the supervisors seemed interested in the prospects of the CIRTT. Doug Cupples, vice-chair of the board of supervisors, thinks it is “a really good idea.” Supervisor Brandon Talsma was glad to see the initiative progressing nicely.
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or firstname.lastname@example.org