Sheriff Addresses Deputy and Jail Staff Concerns In Pandemic

October 13, 2020 3:25pm

Sheriff Dan Altena

Over the course of the last two months I have been asked numerous times what the status of our jail and patrol deputy division is; in light of the current pandemic. As of July 20, 2020, our jail and patrol deputy division have been operating back at normal status.

When the pandemic became very real, in early March, the Sheriff’s Office, along with nearly every other law enforcement agency, as well as churches, schools, businesses and government offices made adjustments to mitigate the consequences of this unprecedented, extremely dangerous and contagious disease. However, at no time was our county ever put in danger.

Recently, some misleading and inaccurate information has been circulated in an attempt to convince the people of Sioux County that they have been in danger because of our virus mitigation efforts. False information of this nature often circulates when there is a lack of understanding of the complexities of operating a jail and sheriff’s office, particularly in a county like Sioux County where both local and federal inmates are held.

Our jail won the best Iowa jail award in 2018. One of the reasons for the award is our team approach to decision making. Our team approach was especially effective during the first month of the pandemic. Our leadership team met regularly at the onset of the pandemic to monitor the ever-changing circumstances. We consulted with other jails, the state jail inspector and various experts in the medical field. We continue to meet regularly, even though we are operating back at normal status.

Our deputies and I have responded to all of the calls for service that have occurred – including a homicide investigation in May and the most recent death investigation involving a deceased body found in a burning car, along with the many other calls we typically get. Unlike the false information circulated, which stated we stayed away from doing our jobs. This simply is not true.

I want to assure you that everyone at the Sheriff’s Office continues to be devoted to our mission statement, which says:

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is committed to maintaining the public’s trust, providing protection, and professional leadership, by utilizing our skills and resources with integrity.

We embody the values of our office and reflect these values in the performance of our duties; dedicated to the preservation of the public’s safety and well-being.

I hope this transparent information will clarify where the Sheriff’s Office is at in terms of operation status and provide a sense of security knowing that we are always committed to your safety.