Johnson County sheriff seeks looser residency requirements



How close is close enough?

Brad Kunkel, Johnson County Sheriff, wants to expand the residency requirement to 25 miles as his department recruits for deputy sheriffs.

The current resident requirement calls for police officers to live within 20 miles of the Johnson County Sheriff’s office, which would include Kalona and some portions of Washington County. A mile south of Kalona would not qualify.

Specifically, Kunkel would like to recruit officers from the Cedar Rapids area.

“We’ll continue to have struggles getting broad numbers of recruits,” Kunkel told the Johnson County Board of Supervisors at its work session June 8. “This is another way to encourage people to work for Johnson County, but not uproot their families from where they’re living now.”

Board members discussed whether residing further away from Iowa City would affect the number of police officers available in an emergency.

“It seems like effective policing would be more effective if the person doing the policing is from within the community,” Supervisor Lisa Green-Douglass said.”

Residency requirements also affect county employees in other departments.

“I think we should look at them individually and decide, is it relevant?” said Supervisor Rod Sullivan.

The board will vote on the adjusted residency requirement as part of a revised job description at its formal meeting June 16.

The board approved a number of rezonings and plat applications at its formal meeting June 9. Among them:

A rezoning from agricultural to residential of 1.83 acres for a property located north of Black Diamond Road SW and south of Eagle Avenue SW. A preliminary plat and final plat was also approved, creating CJ Acres, a one-lot subdivision.

A rezoning from agricultural to residential of 1.64 acres for a property located north of Rohret Road SW and west of Half Moon Avenue SW. The request allows an existing house to be split from farm property.

The board also approved, for a second time, a rezoning application from Monarch Nursery & Garden Center in Hills. Monarch Nursery is expanding an outdoor display of goods on a 1-acre size of property, and needed to rezone from commercial to highway commercial in order to do so.

The City of Hills had previously reviewed and recommended approval of the rezoning. The matter was in front of the Board of Supervisors for a second time in three months because of a deficiency in the notice for a previous Planning and Zoning Committee public hearing, said Nate Mueller, Assistant Director, Johnson County Planning, Development and Sustainability.

The board will hold its next formal meeting at 9 a.m. June 16.

Johnson County, Board of Supervisors, sheriff, residency


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