County Board Gives Reserve Officer Unit Expansion Approval

After weeks of discussion and sometimes very heated debate, a deal has finally been reached that'll give the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office some more help.

The Board of Supervisors has agreed to expand the Sheriff's Reserve Officer Unit, but they'll remain volunteers, with pay of one dollar a year.

A 4-1 vote was all it took to expand the County's Officer Reserve Program from 6 officers to 25.

"We we're looking for 30 - got 25. I consider it a win. We got 25 people, now we can move forward with getting are deputies some help out on the road," says Major Todd Wieck, with the Woodbury County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff Dave Drew was not at the board meeting but sent a text to Major Wieck shortly after our interview. His response, "Awesome."

"We should give him all the opportunity we can to get those people on board. Five people is not going to make or break the program, but I think he should have got what he was requesting," says Mark Monson, a member for the County Board of Supervisors.

Still Monson voted for the compromise, saying the Reserve Officer Unit is a great program, and the Board's decision found middle ground.

"I got to observe some of them last weekend, and they know what they're doing," he says.

The Woodbury County Sheriffs Office wanted to pay each reserve officer if they worked more than 9 hours, but the Board of Supervisors decided against it.

"We have to get this up and running before we ever go there. He's got a lot of work to do," says Monson.

Liability was a sticking point. The County pays for workman's comp if any of these officers gets hurt while on the job. Monson says it was definitely something the board had to consider.

"If we we're concerned about all the liability we undertake as a County, we wouldn't operate. To nitpick liability is one issue I think that's part of what we do," he says.

Reserve Officer Jereme Muller says the Sheriff's Office does a thorough job when selecting the volunteer officers.

"When I hear all the discussions going on, I think they think it's just some average guy and they give him a car and a gun and say "Here, go have fun!" It's not the case," says Muller. "It was a year before I got to do anything. I had to take classes with the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy - had to be tested on that. I had to go through certifications with everything I carry."

The Board also voted to allow the reserve officers to carry a concealed weapon when working for the County on the job.