Orange City, Iowa — Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena is the Republican nominee for Sheriff in Sioux County. And up until recently, he thought he’d have no competition in November. Then former Sheriff Jim Schwiesow announced that he would be mounting a write-in campaign for his old post.
Sheriff Altena tells us why he’s running again for Sheriff. He says he’s dedicated his life to public service. He’s been in law enforcement for 33 years, the last 8 as Sheriff.
He says people are looking for good quality of life. He says he thinks that’s a big component of good law enforcement — people who are willing to go out and put their life on the line.
He says recent events like the attempted abductions underscore the need for officers to be on their toes. He tells us about his philosophy of law enforcement.
He says the department is there to serve the public in any way they can. He says they get lots of types of calls. Sometimes people don’t want them there, but they help keep they public safe. He says through their enforcement efforts, they were able to lower accident numbers, prevent crime and make for a safer community. He also says the small school resource officer program has helped them connect with the next generation.
We asked him if anything will change if he’s re-elected.
He doesn’t plan any changes, but there are always things to build on. He says they will always keep up with technology and training. He also wants to expand the school resource officer program, and the drug task force.
He also says that using one of their deputy sheriffs as the emergency management coordinator has been good and made them more ready for disasters. Plus, they re-instituted the Sioux County Dive Team.
Since Altena’s opponent levied some pretty serious allegations against him regarding terminations, we decided to give Altena a chance to tell his side of the story.
He says that when people run against an incumbent, they try to blast that person and say they’re doing something wrong. Many offices go through personnel issues. He says unfortunately, those things are confidential personnel issues. People do things that cause them to be terminated, or it’s in the best interest of the agency to terminate them.
Altena says he has put some measures in place to make sure they do the right thing in those situations. He says they put an internal affairs division into place, and promptly look into personnel issues. He says the problem is if you are in law enforcement, it’s a big issue if policy is violated, as people’s lives are at stake. He says they take these issues very seriously, and always bring the county attorney into the discussion before a final decision is made.
Altena says he’s running for a reason.
He says if he didn’t feel like they had a good office or that he wasn’t doing a good job as sheriff, he wouldn’t run.
Click the play button (triangle) below to hear the whole interview.