Deutmeyer presents option for joint law enforcement facility

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Mike Deutmeyer with Weber Stone Co. in Stone City spoke at the Aug. 8 Jones County Supervisors meeting regarding an idea that would bring the Sheriff’s Department/Dispatch and Anamosa Police Department together under one roof.

     Deutmeyer said he wanted to merely start a conversation about building a new law enforcement center in Anamosa.

     “It’s been talked about in the past,” he said. “But facilities (Sheriff and APD) could definitely benefit from one building.”

     Sheriff Greg Graver said with an aging jail on the third floor of the courthouse, the county could be faced with a major decision in the near future. Graver indicated the jail is the third oldest in Eastern Iowa, and the annual jail inspections always point out items that need to be addressed.

     “There are two jails worse than ours,” he said, “otherwise we’d be the focal point. At some point, the county will have to do something.” He said when that time comes, the county, Sheriff’s Department and Jones County taxpayers will have to make a decision. The benefit of building a joint facility with Anamosa could mean less for taxpayers.

     “I think it’s a good idea to think about it and look at it as a viable option,” Graver suggested.

     As to whether it’d be an issue having the inmates across town versus inside the courthouse already for court appearances, Graver said within the next couple of months, technology will be added that allows the inmate to appear in court via “face-time video technology” from an off-site location.

     “A lot of agencies are doing that,” he said.

     Deutmeyer said he knows the APD could also use a newer, user-friendly facility.

     Anamosa Police Chief Bob Simonson said their police station has been inspected by an engineer firm from Dubuque.

     “We’re definitely looking at doing something new at this time,” said Simonson in terms of whether it was in their best interest to renovate or rebuild the police station.

     Deutmeyer said typically finding the right location for a facility like this takes some time, which is why he’s offering to donate roughly 3.5 acres of property (old DOT property) he owns for this potential project. Deutmeyer’s property is located near the Anamosa Library & Learning Center.

     “We bought it a few years ago and cleaned it up,” he said. “We’d love to see law enforcement there.”

     Deutmeyer said he just wants to see the conversation started as to whether this could even be possible.

     “Hopefully we can get something completed, a modern facility,” he said. “I don’t live by the mentality that we’re just going to get by. That’s not the way to think.”

     Simonson said the discussion originated back when Mark Denniston was county sheriff.

     “We both agreed that a joint center was a lot more feasible,” shared Simonson, “but we couldn’t get it done at the time.”

     Simonson said now would be the time to approach the Anamosa City Council to see if they’d be receptive to the idea as well, a joint law enforcement facility.

     “I certainly am,” he said of his support.

     Cody Shaffer, a member of the Anamosa City Council, clarified that a couple of years ago, a committee was formed to investigate whether a joint facility would be possible.

     “That fizzled out,” he said.

     Looking at the space Deutmeyer is offering, Shaffer said that would offer room for expansion if funds allowed for it.

     “It’s centrally located and it could really work out well,” complimented Shaffer.

     Simonson said there could be grants available to assist in the design and construction of the facility, with both law enforcement agencies sharing space such as a kitchen, training/classroom room, and a gym.

     “There are many different ways to go if we’re interested in the idea,” he said.

     Graver said his department is always in need of space, especially now with the evidence room. In 2010, they moved the evidence room because of space issues, and now they’re in need for more space.

     “We’re completely full now,” he said. “The state auditors commented that we need to do something about it.”

     Best-case-scenario, Graver said a new facility could be two to five years out.

     “We need to build something that looks at future needs of the county’s population,” he said, referring to the jail and law enforcement agencies. “We need to build for the future. It’ll be cheaper now to build versus 10 years from now.”

     Simonson said their station now doesn’t meet the public’s needs, as it’s not ADA compliant.

     Supervisor Ned Rohwedder said the county and Graver’s department spent money to renovate space for the new dispatch center just a few years ago.

     “A lot of time, money and effort was spent on that,” remarked Rohwedder.

     Graver said the dispatch center is something that could easily be moved to another location.

     “Plus it’s in a new facility,” added Deutmeyer.


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