Woodbury Co. supervisors triple number of reserves in sheriff's reserve program
Woodbury County will now have 25 reserves in its sheriff's reserve program.
There's now a resolution to an issue that's driven a wedge between the Woodbury County sheriff, and the county supervisors the sheriff's reserve program.
Though it's existed for 30 years, a change in Iowa law meant the board could weigh in on the number of reserve deputies. After Tuesday's board vote, they could triple the number of reserve deputies in the coming months.
This meeting was all about the numbers.
"For all of Woodbury County, I think 15 is too few. The 30, I think is a good number to start at," said Josh Hollowell, a reserve candidate for the Woodbury County Sheriff's Department.
Right now, just eight volunteers make up the Woodbury County sheriff's reserve program, but Sheriff Dave Drew has said his current staff is working a lot of hours. To help ease the workload, volunteers like Hollowell have lined up to join the reserves. While there will be training for each of these volunteers, he says the candidates all have the passion and the ability to do their duty.
"It's not like it's just like somebody that wants to get off their X-box and go do something," said Hollowell, a candidate for the reserve program from Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.
Liz Ford is an emergency responder. She says it's important to have someone from the sheriff's department help in emergency situations.
"You can't burn your deputies up. That's where we need the volume of these people. Not everybody can come at the drop of a hat. You need to have these people available to help," said Liz Ford.
Reserves are counted as volunteers, and are paid 1 dollar per year for their work. But, if they exceed nine hours in a month, the sheriff's department meets to determine what "fair compensation" is.
"The sheriff assured us that the volunteers are not going to be paid," said George Boykin of the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors. "The county does not need ongoing costs and added employees to its base."
That's why the department says it's requested the increase. Sheriff's officials say there are 30 candidates, like Hollowell, ready to train. They also say it will cost the same to train 10 or 30 new volunteers.
"My concern was the liability, and also the other concern was the ongoing costs because there had been a suggestion that the volunteers would have to be paid," said Boykin.
But after a lengthy discussion, the board set the number of reserves at 25.
"But, you know, it's better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them," said Hollowell.
That means 17 more will soon begin training.
The number of reserves is now set at 25 and will stay that way for the near future, but there's no guarantee that the candidates who begin training will complete it.
The board could vote again in the future to increase, or reduce, the number of reservists.
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