Agency Type: Sheriff's Office
Population Size, based on the most recent U.S. Census Bureau: 36,626
Agency Size: 47 total - 43 sworn; 4 non-sworn
Initiative Partnership(s): Webster County Sheriff's Office; Fort Dodge Police Department; Iowa State Patrol; Webster County Opioid Coalition; City of Fort Dodge; Fort Dodge Fire Department; Iowa Central Community College; Fort Dodge Correctional Facility; The Fort Dodge Messenger; and nonprofit organizations
Grant Focus Area(s): Technology; Community Engagement
The Webster County, Iowa Sheriff’s Office, with a total staff of 47, is the principal law enforcement agency for the county of Webster, which includes Fort Dodge. The county’s population is approximately 37,000 people and covers 718 square miles in the center of the state. According to the Sheriff’s Office, there are at least 12 gangs actively operating in the county, which target teenage males for recruitment. The majority of the gun violence experienced in the county has involved young males between 14-17 years of age. Webster County is the 18th most-populated county in Iowa but ranks third among Iowa counties for crime per capita with a rate of 79.09 per 1,000 people.
The Webster County Sheriff’s Office has prioritized two ways to access critical information that will address the identified crime needs: purchasing digital forensic extraction software and fostering stronger ties between the community and law enforcement through support of the Safe Communities of Fort Dodge and Webster County Community Coalition. Coalition activities include helping organize neighborhood watches, conducting “parent café” outreach and education sessions, holding town hall meetings, and launching a “see something, say something” media campaign.