October 26, 2021

Sheriff hires three new jailers

New hires provide relief to current, overworked staff

After months of searching, the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office hires three new jailers.

At Tuesday’s board of supervisors meeting, David Eilander, Alex Illingworth and Stephanie Moorman were all authorized to join the Jasper County Jail staff.

The two full-time positions and one part-time position, held by Moorman, were approved during a July meeting of the supervisors.

Jasper County Sheriff John Halferty requested in July to add one or two new jailers to help elevate the high amount of overtime required by the current staff. He presented his case to the supervisors, showing the demanding hours and complex inmate needs that his jailers have to cope with.

In response, the supervisors approved not just one or two new full-time positions, but three. One of the positions will be paid for using funds from the sheriff’s office budget, while the other two will be funded by the county supervisors.

During his presentation Halferty also explained the increasing stresses of jail staff and rising complex needs of inmates due to the pandemic.

“The jail, especially during COVID, is kinda a long-term health facility,”Halferty said. “We have a lot of individuals who come in that are charged with a criminal violation, but they also have a mental health, physical health or subtense abuse issues. So the required duties to take care of them is increasing, so we need more staff to provide a safe environment for them.”

This need is also compounded by the difficulty in hiring part-time staff at the jail, despite both full-time and part-time jailers have a starting hourly rate of over $19.

“Today we filled two full-time positions and one part-time position with new hires, and the third full-time position that was available was filled by a former part-time employee... but we still have four or five part-time positions open at the jail,” Halferty said.

Halferty hopes that the new hires will reduce the need for overtime. The new jailers will start working at the jail within the next few weeks.

“Our senior staff can now take some time off and now I won’t have to approve overtime to cover their shifts,” he said.

Halferty went on to speak highly of his current staff, that they are the ones doing most of the hard work and deserve some down time to recharge and refocus.

“With the new hires we will be able to provide a safer environment for both current staff and inmates. It also helps ensure that the jail will continue to bring in outside revenue by holding out of county inmates,” Halferty said.

Jasper County Jail provides overflow services to both Polk and Warren County correctional facilities.

“Right now we’re holding eight to 10 inmates from those facilities, and when we do that we charge a fee to hold them,” Halferty said.

Warren County is currently using this service while its new jail is under construction, which is estimated to be completed by May 2022.

Abby Knipfel

Abby "Adler" Knipfel

Journalist at Newton Daily News. Currently covering Jasper County and writing passionate opinion pieces. They/Them