There’s A New Deputy in Town: Henry County Supervisors Approve Sheriff McNamee’s Request

Henry County Sheriff Rich McNamee brought the request of an additional deputy before the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday’s meeting. This request came after Winfield-Mt.Union school district explored the idea of adding a School Resource Officer (SRO) for safety, security, and training, on a part time basis.

While McNamee has brought this before the board before, it was not officially voted on as the supervisors waited to garner more information, partly due to a new proposed legislation in the Iowa Senate which would see funds available for school districts to acquire an SRO. The Sheriff was not alone in this battle. Joining him was the New London Community School District Superintendent, Chad Wahls, who has seen his district personally benefit from the presence of an SRO in their buildings. So successful has this SRO, Deputy Lopez, been, that Wahls and the school board requested to make this full-time next year.

Once again, facts about recent school shootings were brought up. In fact, well over 300 of these have happened in schools across the country in just the past 6 years. McNamee asked for the board to be proactive, as he believes it is not a matter of “if” but “when.”

Gage Gill, Winfield Mt. Union 6-12 principal, mentioned how he sees students on their worst and best days. Having an SRO in the building will help ensure those students will experience less and less bad days.

What certainly benefited McNamee was the “penny for penny” reimbursement offered by either school district. Not only will the deputies see their wages (while working at the school) paid for by the district, their gas, uniform, tires, and everything else in between will be fully funded by the school.

Although budget cuts are coming in the size that this county seemingly has not seen, the Supervisors did approve an additional deputy for the Henry County Sheriff’s Office in a unanimous decision. This will likely see a full-time deputy in the New London school district and a part timer in the WMU buildings.

Perhaps McNamee has wind energy to thank for this approval, at least in a sense, as many citizens leftover from the wind energy moratorium discussion voiced their support for the additional deputy cause.