The Iowa State Patrol office in Cherokee will close this spring. Jessica Lown of the Iowa Department of Public Safety says it’s a cost-saving measure. “It was sort of an opportune time. The lieutenant up there and the secretary of that district have indicated that they’re going to be retiring in the spring. There’s a couple of salaries right there that we can eliminate since they’re retiring,” Lown says. “Then we can just rearrange some of our staffing, reassign some folks to different offices.”
Troopers who used the Cherokee site as a base office will be reassigned to the Highway Patrol’s district office in Spencer or the one in Denison. There are two patrol offices in Des Moines — one is for statehouse security. There are another 13 district offices for the Patrol outside of Des Moines. Lown says the Patrol continues to look at ways to reduce costs, but there’s no plan right now to close another district office.
“It’s not out of the question, but it’s not something that I know of or know that is being seriously considered in other places right now,” Lown says. “But if there’s an opportunity, if it’s strategically smart for our office, it may happen.” The State Troopers who patrol Iowa highways are able to connect to driving records and other law enforcement via the modern technology in their squad cars, but Lown says it’s still important to have a physical office space for troopers to gather.
“We need to have staff meetings. You can’t just be out in no-man’s land forever and ever before you have contact with a supervisor,” Lown says. “You need to have training meetings on at least a semi-regular basis.” Troopers carry guns and Lown says it would be impractical to have troopers meet in a public place like a coffee shop, for example, to review gun procedures.