Dubuque County Sheriff proposes moving more deputies to road patrol

Published: Jan. 29, 2021 at 8:53 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - Dubuque County Sheriff Joe Kennedy is proposing a change to its county jail staff in order to increase road patrol presence in the county.

The plan entails moving five deputies from jail staff to road patrol over the next five years.

Sheriff Kennedy said the population in Dubuque County has increased by 11,000 people over the last 30 years. However, during that time frame, road patrol has only increased by one deputy.

“We did some research, we looked at other comparable areas to our size and those areas roughly show about 1.7 deputy or officers per 1,000 people or population,” he explained. “We currently operate at about 0.9 deputies per 1,000 population for our coverage area.”

Kennedy said this move would also allow them to prepare for the future.

”I do think we need to increase the size of the road patrol and in response to, not only the population growth we have already had, but the projected continued population growth for Dubuque County,” he mentioned. “I mean, in the next 20 years Dubuque County is likely going to cross 100,000 residents, so we want to be prepared for that population growth as we move forward.”

Sheriff Kennedy said moving five jail staffers to road patrol and replacing them with civilian correction officers, who would not get paid the same rate as deputies, could cost around $600,000 over the next five years. That would include things like salary, and benefits.

Dubuque County supervisors are currently evaluating whether the change would be financially feasible, but Kennedy said he is feeling hopeful.

“They did not say no right away, which is always a good sign, but obviously they have a lot to look at when it comes to the finances of the staffing,” he said. “We are obviously not the only department in Dubuque County so there is other people that have needs and things, so we understand that and, at the end of the day, we want to provide the best service for the people of Dubuque County.”

Kennedy said their goal is to provide a safe, secure area of patrol but also being responsive to the tax payers.

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