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Sheriff’s Office seeks public input on its performance

December 12, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Citizens will have the chance to voice their opinions of one local law enforcement agency.

As part of a recently completed Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accreditation process, Marshall County Sheriff's Office reserve deputies will conduct citizen surveys in the evening hours of Dec. 17 and 18.

The surveys aim to improve the sheriff's office by prompting citizens to give their input on the agency's service, said Deputy DeMorris Dean, who helps coordinate the surveys.

"We want to know if there is anything we can do better to serve the community," he said. "It kind of gives us a heads up."

The survey has 10 questions that cover overall agency performance, competency of sheriff's office employees, deputy attitudes toward citizens, safety and security concerns and suggestions for improvement.

Dean said deputies choose between five and 10 names from the phone books of the communities the sheriff's office serves.

CALEA requires the sheriff's office to complete such surveys every three years as part of its accreditation process.

If citizens are uncertain to whom they are speaking, the sheriff's office suggests hanging up, calling the Marshall County Sheriff's Office at 641-754-6380 and asking for the reserve deputy with whom they were supposedly talking.

Anyone not contacted via telephone by Dec. 17 can fill out a survey on the web by visiting and following the Citizen Survey link on the left side of the page.

Dean encouraged citizens to visit the site and fill out a survey as it gives the sheriff's office a better sampling. Although deputies select names randomly, the information on the surveys submitted is anonymous.

"We just want to make ourselves transparent and open to the public," Chief Deputy Burt Tecklenburg said. "People don't need to worry about repercussions."

The sheriff's office uses the information it gathers during these surveys to inform policy and enforcement changes, he said.

Sometimes, Tecklenburg added, these surveys draw attention to an area that sheriff's office staff did not know existed.



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