Supervisors, Reinbeck officials ponder future of law enforcement contract

Robert Maharry

The Grundy County Board of Supervisors and three officials from the city of Reinbeck went back and forth before eventually informally agreeing to hire two new deputies and keep the foundation of the current law enforcement contract intact during Monday morning’s regular meeting.
Amidst a budget shortfall, the city of Reinbeck voted to cut its annual expenditures on Grundy County law enforcement protection by 10 percent, including a rollback in daytime hours per month from 100 to 67, in February, and Sheriff Rick Penning floated the idea of terminating the contract altogether, which would then provide service only on an on-call basis or allow Reinbeck to hire its own police force. The recent departure of longtime deputy Ron Tordoff and the impending retirement of Ken Yeomans could have the sheriff’s department down to 10 officers in fiscal year 2018.
“What I’m concerned about with Reinbeck is that if they don’t want daytime patrol, we turn around and get two new officers, and we’ve got to let somebody go. That’s not fair to the city or the county,” Chief Deputy Tim Wolthoff, who spoke at the meeting, said. “We’re shuffling people around to fill in the gaps. We’re scrambling right now.” 
As many as four other officers, including both Penning and Wolthoff, will reach retirement age in the next five years. Reinbeck Mayor Tim Johnson, councilman Jamie Eiffler and city administrator Julie Wilkerson, however, did not wish to hire their own force and conceded that it would cost the city much more in the long run to go that route. 
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