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Changing of Guard at Story County Sheriff’s Office

NEVADA, Iowa -- The Story County Sheriff’s Office held a retirement party on Friday for Chief Deputy Capt. Barry Thomas. Thomas is leaving after 27 years with the department. He began service in the jail and was promoted to work in a number of different areas in the department, including the Story County Dive team, a team of deputies and volunteers that provide water rescue and underwater searches and recoveries.

"Barry has done just an outstanding job,” said Story County Sheriff Paul Fitzgerald. “He carries himself and represents himself, his family and sheriff’s office in such a spectacular way.”

Thomas had the opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy and is a past president of the FBI Academy Association.

“Barry has also been involved not only in the sheriff's office but throughout the community, throughout the state and even nationally,” said Fitzgerald. “Barry served on a number of boards throughout the years, just a couple to mention, ACCESS, and the Crime Stoppers board that we created here.”

The list of Thomas’ projects is long.

“Barry was very instrumental in implementing the Campus P3 Program in Story County,” said Fitzgerald. “In a nutshell, it is communication with schools and students and anyone who wants to get on and give us a message about a possible threat or danger.”

The reception drew law enforcement from across the county as well as police chiefs from Des Moines and Marshalltown and the fire chief from Ames.

“I want to say thanks to my family first and foremost for all your support over the years,” said Thomas, in remarks to the group. “This job is a hard job on people and leaves a lot of scars. If you don’t have a good family structure, it’s hard to get through.”

Thomas said in his retirement he is working on getting a doctorate at Iowa State University.

Thomas said he so appreciated his co-workers past and present for their encouragement. Thomas asked people attending the reception to bring a donation of canned food for the Food Bank of Iowa.

“Trying to help food insecurity in our state. That might not be what you traditionally think of with law enforcement,” said Thomas. “It is our responsibility to take care of the people we are sworn to protect and serve.”

Nicholas Lennie will take over as chief deputy for the Story County Sheriff’s Department. He was sworn in at the ceremony.

Thomas recognized Terry Stark in attendance at the reception. It was his father, the late Sheriff John Stark, who first hired Thomas and got him started in law enforcement.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity God has given me, and the one thing I hope is they left this place better than I found it,” said Thomas.

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