June 19, 2024

Q&A with Republican candidate Tracy Cross for Jasper County sheriff

3 candidates are contesting the seat for the June 4 primary

Sgt. Tracy Cross

Name: Tracy Cross

Age: 40

Hometown: Baxter

1. Introduce yourself to Jasper County voters and tell us why you’re running.

My name is Tracy Cross. I am a fifth generation Jasper County resident. The Cross family homesteaded outside of what is Baxter today in 1857. I am married to Jennifer Cross and have three daughters who will be the fourth generation to graduate from Baxter. My faith, family, and Jasper County are the three most important things me. We are very involved in our church and our community. After spending my adult career as a tradesman, I was called into law enforcement in 2015 to serve a bigger purpose and calling. I started as a police officer in Baxter in 2015, and in 2017 I became a deputy at the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. Through hard work, consistency, and dedication, I was promoted to sergeant in 2020. I am currently the team leader for the Central Iowa Regional Tactical team, Jasper County Emergency Services Honor Guard member and treasurer, oversee the sheriff’s office field training program and was a handler of retired K9 Deputy Nuke.

Our county’s sheriff is the only elected law enforcement position; I do not take that for granted. I am running for the Republican Party nominee because I am a leader who will work side by side with all employees of the sheriff’s office, other first responders and all Jasper County departments and elected officials. I understand the importance of teamwork and having a vision for the office through open communication. I will continue to train and meet the standards required to be a patrol deputy while maintaining the administrative and civil side aspects of the Office. I took an oath to serve and protect Jasper County, and I will never ask anyone to do something I would not do myself. The Constitution protects all citizens of Jasper County. I will defend our God-given freedoms while being proactive against those who commit crimes against our citizens and communities. This profession carries a lot of weight to make tough decisions to protect citizens, employees and Jasper County. I lean on my faith and conservative values to guide my leadership decisions and personal life.

2. What do you feel the role of the county sheriff’s office should be, especially when considering the addition of the ALS program?

The sheriff’s office’s primary role will always be serving Jasper County with law enforcement needs through patrol, dispatch and the jail. These departments will always be my first focus for budgeting, hiring and retention.

Most first responders will tell you that the rapid decline of volunteers and individuals wanting to work in these professions has caused us to adjust to the emergency medical needs of rural Jasper County. The preference will always be that local EMS services will be able to respond to their calls and continue to serve their communities with pride. Short staffing or call volume can sometimes prevent rural EMS departments from responding to medical emergencies. The sheriff’s office, board of supervisors, and county EMS representatives worked together on the ALS program. I was honored to work with our leaders to implement this program. The ALS program supports Jasper County EMS departments with paramedics or reserve deputy paramedics who respond in marked units with medical supplies and equipment that an ambulance would carry.

I have witnessed the benefits and quality of care the ALS program provides our citizens while on calls and working with them. I will always support the ALS program in Jasper County. Suppose the program continues to grow and becomes a full-time department; in that case, emergency management would be a better department to oversee the program.

3. What sorts of ways do you think the sheriff’s office can improve communication with residents, county departments, other agencies and media?

Communication and transparency are crucial to having strong relationships with citizens, county departments and the media.

The citizens are our county’s stakeholders. Before COVID, I set up opportunities throughout Jasper County for citizens to meet the sheriff, supervisors, deputies and other department leaders. These events allowed citizens to express concerns, share support and build relationships. I will continue to be present in our communities and transparent with them regarding any changes or concerns happening in their community. I will continue to use and develop our social media platform to provide important information on events happening and seek assistance from citizens when needed. Our citizens are the eyes and ears of Jasper County, and they also want a safe community to live in. They know their communities best!

I have always worked and communicated well with the other law enforcement, fire, ambulance and county departments. We are all in this to serve Jasper County as a team. Meeting with leaders regularly to share ideas and collaborate on future needs, training and resources is crucial to build relationships and better serve our citizens.

Having an open relationship with the media and accessibility is essential to providing citizens with answers and information from all sides.

4. Do you feel like the sheriff’s office is meeting the needs of its employees and the county residents?

The sheriff’s office has prioritized keeping equipment and facilities updated regularly with the support of the board of supervisors and the citizens. Throughout my career, I have built strong relations with employees at the sheriff’s office. I have worked with them to bring ideas and concerns forward to solve problems and provide a safe work environment.

5. What are some of the biggest challenges the sheriff’s office is facing currently or is going to face and how would to approach those issues?

One of the biggest challenges is staffing. Law enforcement is a difficult and demanding profession, and the number of applicants is at an all-time low nationwide. I will continue to hire only the best applicants who fit the office’s standards. I owe it to the current employees to hold that standard. Hiring new employees will always be part of the job, but retention of current employees is a must. I make it a priority to support each employee in their professional and personal goals.

6. What sort of leader does the sheriff’s office need?

The sheriff is one of the most important positions in our local government and takes someone who is an active community member. This person must protect our God-given freedoms while being proactive against those who conduct criminal activity in our county. We need a present and available sheriff, a leader who doesn’t place themselves above reproach and who is willing to ask for help from and work with all departments in the county. A sheriff who encourages and celebrates all the good things at the office but is unafraid to hold the line on policy and standards to protect both the individual and Jasper County. Both of these matter because we are held to high standards in our morals and integrity, expected to perform in the toughest of situations, and provide the best service to our citizens. We need a leader who listens to the needs of their employees, citizens and other leaders and works with them to find the best solution. These are all qualities that I have and practice daily. Please vote for Tracy Cross on June 4 for the Republican Party nominee for Jasper County sheriff.

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.