Though all of the law enforcement agencies have mutual aid agreements with one another in case of emergencies, Nevada Police Chief Ricardo Martinez said that an official updated 28E agreement for combined law enforcement operations was needed based on past and upcoming events in Story County.
“Let’s say Ames had a pursuit, and the guy was running into the county, and of course, the deputies are going to help out with that, then they come into Nevada and our people are going to help out with that; that’s more of an emergency-type basis and they generally aren’t involved for too long,” Martinez said. “This 28E agreement is more for issues that take place that are going to take more time or are more sensitive to an agency.”
Earlier this week the Nevada City Council approved the agreement between the Story County Sheriff’s Office, Story County Conservation Public Safety, Iowa State University Public Safety and the police departments in the cities of Ames, Huxley, Story City and Nevada. Martinez said the new agreement will have to be updated every 10 years, and that the other agencies will have to go to their governing boards to have the agreement approved.
Martinez said part of what prompted the agreement was an October 2016 domestic assault incident involving a Nevada police officer. Originally Martinez said Ames police were contacted to investigate, but could not stay on the case because there was no 28E agreement in place, so the Story County Sheriff’s Office had to take over.
According to Martinez, this agreement differs from a mutual aid agreement in that it covers more than just emergencies.
“Typically, what that involves is an agreement in which parameters are set up and if something were to happen and you needed some assistance, these are the criteria that we all agreed we would follow,” Martinez said. “Since we didn’t have that (at that time) rather than maybe having an issue in court, the Story County Sheriff’s Office took over and concluded that.”
Ames Police Cmdr. Geoff Huff said the department already had an agreement with ISU police and the Sheriff’s Office, but that having an updated agreement with Nevada has been in the works for awhile given how far Ames and Nevada are expanding.
“We’re almost starting to touch each other, especially when it comes to traffic out by the ethanol plant and places like that,” Huff said. We’re getting so close now in jurisdiction that it just makes sense.”
According to Huff, agreements like this are pretty common in law enforcement, and that Ames and Nevada already have a 28E agreement for the Central Iowa Drug Task Force. However, given the fact that Ames is a scheduled overnight stop and Nevada is a pass-through city for RAGBRAI this year, having an official agreement is especially important.
“We know RAGBRAI’s coming through in July, and that’s going to tax everybody’s resources as they move from one side of the state to the other,” Huff said. “Being able to call up a little bit of extra help, and not have to put something together at the last minute, is always helpful.”
The Story County Sheriff’s Office already has 28E agreement’s with other agencies around Story County, which Capt. Barry Thomas said has always allowed the office to build and maintain close relationships with agencies across the county and even the state.
“It allows us to pull resources and utilize one another’s expertise, and just be able to be more effective and more efficient as an overall body of law enforcement and public safety people for that matter,” Thomas said. “In my 26 years, they’ve been the norm. We’ve had them in place for as long as I can remember, so for us, it’s a standing order that allows us when necessary to call upon resources from other jurisdictions.”
Huxley Police Chief Mark Pote said that his agency has always assisted when asked, but that these agreements are extremely beneficial when they can use a larger agency’s resources during a case.
“If someone’s hollering for help, we’re going to help,” Pote said. “This 28E agreement just allows officers or employees from other departments and agencies to assist with special events and stuff like football games, or events where there’s going to be a large number of people for a period of time.”
“I had an interest in getting Nevada, Story City and Huxley to work football and assist us with that because it does take a large amount of law enforcement resources,” Newton said. “It streamlines our processes and makes it easier for us to assist one another, and honestly spells out what we can and can’t do.”
Though he has not brought the agreement to ISU Senior Vice President for University Services Pam Elliot Cain, Newton said with the Nevada City Council passing the agreement this week, agencies have gotten the process started and hopefully, other agencies around the county will soon follow.
“Now that it’s starting to make its rounds, we’ll start to get the different entities to make the approvals and hopefully we can make that happen really fast,” Newton said. “As our events keep expanding and we keep having more events, it makes a lot of sense to have it streamlined.”