To the editor:
Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Dallas County ranked fifth in the nation in population growth for counties with a population of 10,000 or more. Fifth!
As a lifelong resident of Dallas County, when I first read this statistic, I have to admit that I was a little shocked. We can all look around at the eastern side of the county and see the growth, but I never imagined we were growing at a pace that would place us at fifth in the nation.
Over the last several months, I’ve had the opportunity — the privilege, rather — to sit on a committee supporting the sheriff in his efforts to bring to the county a new law enforcement facility. I’ve known Sheriff Chad Leonard for nearly 20 years, and can, without hesitation, say he is a man of his word.
As he goes from community to community, talking to the people of our county, he tells the story of our jail, the overcrowding, the need for office space, the hundreds of thousands of dollars we spend each year to house prisoners at facilities in other counties, the public safety concerns — these are just a few of the reasons we need a new facility, all incredibly important.
While the jail sits in the county seat of Adel, this isn’t Adel’s jail. It services the entire county. From West Des Moines to Perry to Dexter to Woodward and all of the areas and towns in between, every community in the county sends their prisoners to this county jail.
Our county is growing, whether we like it or not. With growth comes crime. My dad, Lee Struble, was the sheriff of this wonderful county for many years, and I remember when the current jail was built. We thought it would carry us long into the future.
Who knew, nearly 30 years later, that Dallas County, Iowa, would be the fifth fastest growing county in the country? There was honestly no way to predict this back then. There just wasn’t.
It’s time, Dallas County. Please vote this referendum through on May 2.
Jodi (Struble) Selby