June 19, 2024

Q&A with Republican candidate Brad Shutts for Jasper County sheriff

3 candidates are contesting the seat for the June 4 primary

Lt. Brad Shutts

Name: Brad Shutts

Age: 47

Hometown: Grinnell

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

I am Brad Shutts, a lieutenant with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. I am a 28-year veteran of law enforcement with 22 of those years with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office where I have been involved in numerous roles and responsibilities. I am running for Jasper County sheriff with a strong passion for law enforcement that began as a young child who grew up in a law enforcement family, with my father serving as a deputy sheriff for 29 years. I strive to serve the Jasper County community every day and will continue to support and stand for the freedom and liberties of all Jasper County citizens.

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 by Iowa law is the second highest law enforcement official in the county, following the county attorney. The sheriff is a representative of the courts and is responsible for the execution of the orders of the court. The sheriff is responsible for the operations of the Jasper County Jail Division, the Jasper County Communications Division, the Jasper County Civil Division and the Jasper County Law Enforcement Division, provide primary law enforcement to all unincorporated areas of the county, incorporated cities holding law enforcement contracts and to be an assisting agency to all other law enforcement in the county. The ALS assistance program is something that I was assigned by Sheriff Halferty to assist in developing. The ALS assistance program provides paramedic level first responders during the peak hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. to assist our smaller volunteer fire and EMS departments with staffing while those volunteers are typically out of town working. Some of our paramedics are reserve deputies that provide additional law enforcement support to our full-time deputies. Having the ALS assistance program under the sheriff’s office gives us those additional support roles to our deputies who sometimes work shorthanded. Our primary duties at the sheriff’s office are law enforcement, but we must help out our first responder partners in the county with medical assistance.

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

I plan on working to develop a phone app that is specific to Jasper County where information can be released and requested by the Jasper County community. Open communication and transparency are a key component with citizens, other county departments and agencies in the county. I would like to see the Jasper County Attorney’s Office begin holding rural chief’s meetings monthly or quarterly, similar to what was done pre-COVID. Supplying our local media with information to inform the local communities is and always has been a priority for me. Our local media has the local public interest in mind and delivers necessary information quickly, which is a huge asset to the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office.

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

The employees of the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office are my top priority. We would not have a successful office without the diligent work of the employees and their physical and mental health should never be overlooked. Supplying the employees with the necessary equipment to do their jobs is key to giving the county residents the quality service they expect.

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?

Right now, the stability of the sheriff’s $7.8 million budget is going to be a challenge in the 25-26 budget with levy cap legislation. Maintaining staffing levels without losing quality levels of services is going to be a struggle, but working with the board of supervisors and other departments is a must as we navigate through those challenges.

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

The sheriff’s office needs the continued leadership that has led me through the past 22 years at the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office. Having mentors in retired Sheriff Mike Balmer and current Sheriff John Halferty has been instrumental in the accomplishments of my career. The sheriff’s office needs a leader with a long history of dedication and experience in law enforcement, not someone who decided midlife that they wanted to give a career in law enforcement a shot. Experience, dedication and a strong passion for law enforcement will lead the office to success in the future for the Jasper County community it serves.

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.