Supervisors Deny Request For Additional Deputy
Sheriff Lynn Schultes was on hand to request that an additional deputy sheriff be hired, bringing the total to nine deputies within the county. The request was made during the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisor’s regular meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 20.
“I talked to the board a couple of weeks ago asking you to consider hiring an additional deputy,” Schultes began. “We discussed what other counties have done in Iowa. Fifty counties have hired an additional deputy, 45 of them since 2012.”
According to Schultes this shows a trend of what is going on in the state and in the county. News media shows how crime has increased throughout the nation.
“Things have changed in our county as well, according to the Universal Crime Report, which is a statistical tabulation of crime that is reported to the FBI,” he said.
Schultes used statistics from 2010 and 2015 using counties that border Palo Alto County, which includes Kossuth, Emmet, Humbolt, Pocahontas, Buena Vista, Clay and Dickinson.
“In 2010, Palo Alto County was sixth in Group A Arrests (serious crimes), seventh in Group B Arrests (misdemeanor crime), sixth in total arrests, sixth in Group A Incidents and Palo Alto County’s Index Crime rating was third of the surrounding counties,” Schultes stated. ” In 2015 everything changed. Palo Alto County was rated fifth in Group A arrests, first in Group B Arrests, second in total arrests, third in Group A Incidents and Palo Alto County was ranked first in the Index Crime Rating for the surrounding counties.”
Schultes continued, “The state patrol do assist when they can but they are not required to.”
“Do those commercial vehicles respond?” Supervisor Craig Merrill questioned.
“They can. In fact, we had an incident in Ayrshire about three years ago which was a call for a man with a gun and the first to respond was from Motor Vehicle Enforcement,” Schultes replied.
“How many officers showed up for that call?” Supervisor Ed Noonan asked.
“I believe there were six and as soon as the call went out, we had other counties calling to see if we need assistance,” Schultes said.
“Were there any charges filed?” Noonan asked.
“No there was not,” Schultes replied.
Schultes did say that the cost associated with an additional deputy is not a low number but may change slightly depending on the insurance and estimated the cost at nearly $76,000 per year.
“One of the first questions I get is will this save on overtime and my answer to that is very little,” Schultes said. “Most of the overtime is in shift extension due to being in the middle of a case. You can’t just drop a case. It needs to be finished.”
Schultes pointed out that he has three letters of support from Myrna Heddinger, Mayor of Emmetsburg, Eric Hanson, Police Chief and Assistant County Attorney Melanie Bauler.
“If you weren’t on Facebook so much you might get your job done, it’s unacceptable. It is also uncalled for that your deputies are delivering notices at ten o’clock at night. They have the right to go to bed and not get woken up. That’s unacceptable,” Joann Coakley began. “Stopping kids going five miles an hour over the speed limit or just stopping them because you want to check them out. Really, harassing teenagers is uncalled for. You not knowing what your deputies are doing, is uncalled for. You are the sheriff.”
“Do you have examples?’ Schultes asked.
“Don’t you remember when we came to see you?” Joann asked. “I don’t know what my deputies do. I don’t keep track of them is what you said. That’s a total lie unless you aren’t really keeping track. Then you should know what they are doing.”
“They never investigated what happened,” Jim Coakly said. “They were either to lazy or to dumb. They didn’t know what they were doing.”
“They didn’t know the protocols or anything and you sit behind your desk reading papers, doing your thing coming up with statistics,” Joann said. “Not doing your job and that salary for a deputy is uncalled for, really uncalled for. A nurse at the hospital doesn’t even make half but let’s give it to them. And granted some of the counties around us do have more deputies, but they also have more risk than Palo Alto County does.”
“Ok, Lynn, go ahead,” Supervisor Chairman Linus Solberg said.
“I really don’t care to listen to him,” Joan stated.
“Why does he have eleven vehicles and only eight deputies?” Jim asked. “At least we wouldn’t have to buy another vehicle, would we?”
“No,” Schultes replied.
“Then why have eleven vehicles?” Jim asked.
“We have nine marked cars, one unmarked car that is used for drug investigations and one multi agency response van,” Schultes stated.
With some further deliberation, a motion was made to keep the number of deputies at eight. The motion passed with a unanimous vote.