First year of 28E agreement with City of Harlan and Shelby County is a success

SHELBY COUNTY — April 15 marked one year since the 28E Law Enforcement agreement between the City of Harlan and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department went into effect. Due to ongoing staff shortages with the Harlan Police Department, the agreement disbanded HPD, leaving law enforcement coverage of the city solely under the Sheriff’s Department.
 Shelby County Sheriff Neil Gross feels the transition went very smoothly. When the agreement was put into action last year, the Sheriff’s Department had to add six additional deputies to provide additional coverage in the city.
 “The hiring process went very well and applicants were in abundance,” Sherriff Gross said. “We are currently fully staffed, and are getting one deputy from the academy this week to come back to the road. This will help significantly with coverage and shift rotation as well.”
 The department currently has 17 deputies, which Gross said makes training, patrol, and call response both safer and easier.
 “We currently seem to have a very quick rate at solving cases and working as one team. The shift flexibility has been great with the larger number of deputies as well,” Gross said.
 “Some of the intended benefits of improved coverage, consistent training, enhanced safety, better recruiting, and streamlined investigations have been realized with a single agency model,” said Harlan City Administrator Gene Gettys.
  “There have been at least 15 other municipalities/counties from across the State who have contacted us because they are considering doing something similar.”
 The decision to demobilize the Harlan Police Department after over a century of service was met with some skepticism from Harlan residents, who voiced their opinion at a public forum held at the C.G. Therkildsen Center in March 2023. Gross said recently, the feedback from Harlan residents has been positive.
 “The citizens of Harlan seem very happy with the amount of patrol they are receiving and the quickness of our response times,” Gross said. “ I have had several people tell me they see squad cars in and around Harlan much more often now than they used to. I correlate this to the higher number of deputies.”
 Gross appreciates everyone in the county for their support. “I just want to say thank you to everyone who stayed with us and gave us grace during the transition period,” he said.
 “It was a learning curve for both parties involved but the safety and security was always at the top of our list. We look forward to building upon the foundation which has been developed this last year and we all strive to be better within the work we do.”




Harlan Newspapers

1114 7th Street
P.O. Box 721
Harlan, IA 51537-0721

(800) 909-6397

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