Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office puts out urgent call for deputies

The Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office is putting out an urgent call for deputies as they are trying to fill more empty positions than ever before. Deputies in the office say the profession is a rewarding one.

“You have to be in it for the love of it,” said Deputy Darin Hable.

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Hable has been with the Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office for 19 years. Next year he wants to retire, but lately, thinking about retirement has been hard, “I do have concerns for the future. I feel I want to hang on as long as I can.”

The Sheriff’s Office is down 13 deputies. This means deputies like Hable are stretched thin.

“Not much sleep. Many shifts in a row, overnight shifts, day shifts, court the next day,” Hable described.

And, for two hours of every day, there are no available deputies to respond to calls for help. The department is currently staffed for 22 out of 24 hours.

Freitag went to the Freeborn County Board of Commissioners and asked to increase deputy starting pay. He also suggests a $1,500 sign on bonus.

“To attract candidates takes money,” Freitag said. “I know the commissioners have only so much money. We need to do something.”

5th District Commissioner Ted Herman thinks money will not fix the shortage.

“I can tell you money’s not going to solve the problem. This problem is in the United States right now, it’s a workforce problem,” Herman said.

According to Herman, the board is unlikely to grant the Sheriff’s Office more money, but they may clear the way for deputies to get their first raise faster. In the meantime, the county is trying to find creative ways to recruit. Freitag put up fliers targeting Lake Mills, where Larson Manufacturing recently announced it’s closing.

Freitag said he is working with the county to come up with a specific list of solutions that he hopes commissioners will discuss in a future meeting.