Dallas County Considers Building New Jail to Address ‘Growing Pains’

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WOODWARD, Iowa -- The population of Dallas County has more than doubled over the past 15-years. More people means more crime. So the sheriff says the county needs a new law enforcement office and a new administration building.

"Our dispatch center dispatches for a majority of Dallas County," Sheriff Chad Leonard explains, "Fire, EMS, rescue, and most of the police departments we do a lot of stuff that the police departments don't do and we're responsible for a lot of things and we are out of space."

So the county wants to build a new $16.3 million sheriff's office, complete with a new jail. Right now, a lot of Dallas County prisoners are housed in Polk County. The plan also calls for a new $11.8 million county administration building. Last year, voters turned down a referendum for a similar project. There was very light turn out for Tuesday night's public meeting on the project, only two people turned up.

The plan is to put the sheriff's office on a vacant parcel of land in Adel. And the county administration building would go on Highway 6 in the heart of town.

"We're not displacing any homeowners," Adel Mayor James Peters says, "There's four properties that we need to acquire. And three of those we have options on. So we've agreed to a price and they've agreed to sell and the other is a business and we're really working hard to find a location for them."

This was the first in a series of five public meetings to discuss the issue. The next meeting takes place Perry High School October 14 at 7 p.m.