An exciting update!

Sioux County citizens, I have some great updates happening at the sheriff’s office that I’d like to share with you. As you may know, I have been working on enhancing the services provided by the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office:

◦ One of the ways is that we want to further serve our schools is by adding a second school resource officer (SRO). We have had additional schools reach out to us about inviting a SRO to their school and now we can make that a reality. We have already been in the training phase of working an additional SRO into our school schedule.

◦ The second item that is a priority to me is mental health and law enforcement’s response. The sheriffs office wants to enhance the way we serve Sioux County by adding a deputy sheriff who would be focused/specialized in their training to be a mental health officer (MHO). This deputy would not only serve as a regular certified deputy sheriff, but will also have enhanced training in mental health crisis response, mental health first aid, jail diversion techniques, de-escalation in higher stress events and serve as a liaison between all of our county’s mental health resources and law enforcement. The MHO could also offer additional training to our deputies and jail staff. The MHO would work closely with our SROs, as this additional layer of support could be advantageous for students in need of this service as well.

◦ My third goal is to provide a therapy K9 to the SRO and the MHO. Therapy dogs provide relief to those in anxiety-situations, bring comfort to those who are grieving or lonely, and offer affection to people experiencing crisis situations in schools and other various situations and environments. Therapy dogs are also trained to provide comfort and affection when they visit disaster areas, and more. They are trained to interact with people facing a wide variety of situations or challenges, and have a friendly and warm disposition. Simply petting a therapy dog can lower the stress hormone cortisol levels-often you can visibly see the calming effects.

I am happy to share with you that the budget involved with these above requests has been approved by our Sioux County Board of Supervisors! What will happen now is we will move through the processes of adding personnel to implement these exciting opportunities, to be effective July 1, 2023, here in Sioux County!

I am grateful that we live and work in a county that supports visionary, intentional ideas and services to protect and serve its citizens! I am confident and anticipate that these things will greatly enhance the quality resources already in place and look forward to implementing them for you.

-Sheriff Van Voorst