Woodbury County Sheriff seeks decision on staffing shortage - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Woodbury County Sheriff seeks decision on staffing shortage

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

For the past three months, the Woodbury County Sheriff has been trying to find a solution to his jail staffing shortage.

On Tuesday, Dave Drew sent a letter to the Board of Supervisors stating, "there has been a failure to recognize this problem."

And, Drew said, the issue needs to be addressed now.

The sheriff is no stranger to the Woodbury County Board of Supervisors.

"I wonder sometimes what open discussion is about. Are we being heard by the board? Or, are they ignoring us," Drew inquired.

After what he said are several appearances at the board's regular meeting, Drew sent a formal letter making requests the board add correctional officers and change shift hours.

"We had no idea these requests were coming to us," Supervisor George Boykin said.

"You know, you try to be up front, you try to put everything out and for someone to say they're not familiar with this or haven't heard about it takes me back," Drew said.

Now, the sheriff said it's time the board makes a decision. He plans to go before them to push for a solution at next Tuesday's meeting.

But the board said they don't want to be rushed.

"We're going to have to find a solution, but I think it's going to take a collaborative, cooperative relationship for that to happen," Boykin said.

The problem is staffing. Drew said they regularly eat into overtime hours. He wants more jailers and a shift change for employees. Add to that another concern, and another letter sent to the board, about not enough nurses serving the jail.

"A jail our size, for not having a staff of nurses 24 hours a day or the bulk of the day is really putting us at a great risk," Drew said.

"Things do come up where we found it has been necessary to have 24/7 nursing coverage and there have been times when we needed that and haven't had it," Major Todd Wieck said.

Wieck said most other large jails in Iowa already have nurses around the clock. He said they would need to hire at least two more full time nurses to meet this need.

While Drew has asked to be put on next Tuesday's agenda, supervisors haven't confirmed whether they'll vote on any solution at the meeting.

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