New Sheriff in Black Hawk County - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Sheriff in Black Hawk County

by John Wilmer

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- He's only been in office for nine days, but one county sheriff is already making headlines. In November, Deputy Tony Thompson became the new Black Hawk County Sheriff.

Sheriff Thompson has taken an aggressive stance when it comes to running the Black Hawk County Sheriff's Office. He's has extended business hours, changed some employees duties, and implemented a new inmate worker program.

Inmates from the Black Hawk County Jail are getting a little more fresh air and exercise these days by taking part in the inmate worker program. 

While these inmates clear the side walks Sheriff Thompson is getting use to his new role.  

"I think any leader when they take command and take charge of a group, they are going to select some key issues that they know they're going to benefit rewards.  They are going to be those key successes that they can start generating momentum with," Sheriff Thompson said.

It costs these inmates $65 a day while they do their time in Black Hawk County. If they work, that cost is reduced. Their duties will change from shoveling to maintaining the grounds to even cleaning up ditches.

"It's to their benefit to say hey I'll come out and I'll wash a squad car or I'll scrape a side walk or I'll shovel some snow if you give me some credit and make that bill not so large.  There is no advantage for them to leave.  They're just trying to do their time and get back into their jobs or their family or whatever," Thompson said.

This is just the first of many changes the new sheriff is looking to implement.

"I think at the end of the day I don't want people to say that young snot nosed sheriff what he's doing. I want them to be able to look at it and say he's making some decisions that are.... Some of them are bold. I mean the inmate work crew is a little bolder of a decision, but the benefits far outweigh the risks," Thompson said.

Sheriff Thompson has also brought back the former position of chief deputy, which will be filled by Captain Rick Abben. This position hasn't been used since 2001 when the former chief deputy retired.            

Thompson says that he is looking for the publics input on how to improve the sheriff's office. He says that he will be holding town hall meetings throughout Black Hawk County. 

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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