Seven small communities in northwest Iowa will soon have to find new law enforcement protection. The Sioux County Sheriff is terminating their policing contract. Sheriff Jim Schwiesow says the move will allow him to cut his staff in half, so he’s planning on firing one deputy and laying off six others. Schwiesow has been Sioux County’s sheriff 26 years and was criticized last month after demoting a deputy who’s running against him. It’s unclear if that deputy, Dan Altena, will be among those laid off or fired — no names have been announced. Monday’s news conference was the first time Sheriff Schwiesow had addressed that situation publicly. Schwiesow says Altena became angry with him when the Sheriff announced he’d changed his mind and decided to seek reelection. Schwiesow says “there were no pleasantries exchanged, no conversation, no information given as to his coming and going.” Schwiesow says Altena “would leave the office and would be gone for hours without my knowing where he was and what he was doing.” Schwiesow says Altena acted “like a free agent with his own agenda” and “acted like that was the way it was going to be from then on.” The Sheriff says the downsizing will do much to streamline the office and will “restore order and decorum within the office.” Schwiesow says he’ll ask the Iowa Attorney General to investigate what Schwiesow calls “unwarranted and unacceptable intrusion” into the sheriff’s office by other county officials. The communities that will lose county law enforcement starting October 1st are Hull, Hospers, Boyden, Maurice, Matlock, Chatsworth and Granville.
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