The two candidates running for Boone County sheriff in a special election March 21 are both long-time deputies in the office.
Tuesday's election is being held because former sheriff Gregg Elsberry retired early in November 2022. Boone County supervisors appointed deputy Andy Godzicki to serve as sheriff starting Jan. 1, 2023 but deputy sheriff Cory Rose helped submit a signed petition that forced the county to instead hold a special election for the seat.
Godzicki comes to the position with nearly 20 years of experience in the county sheriff's office and the Boone Police Department. He started in 2003 as a part-time reserve duty with the sheriff's department and graduated from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in 2005. Since then he's been a patrol deputy, a narcotics investigator and a general investigator covering property crimes, burglary and sexual abuse.
Rose has been with the Boone County Sheriff's Office full time since July 2022. He previously was with the office part time for two years. Rose also served 16 years with the Boone Police Department and one year with Ogden's.
To help voters, the Ames Tribune asked the candidates to submit biography information and answers to three questions. Their answers were lightly edited for clarity.
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Meet Andy Godzicki
- Age: 51
- Current town of residence: Boone
- Occupation: Boone County sheriff
- Political experience: Appointed to sheriff Jan. 1, 2023
- Family: Married to Trisha (Linduski) Godzicki, originally of Ogden. We have four children ranging in age from 8 to 21 years old.
Meet Cory Rose
- Age: 42
- Current town of residence: Boone
- Occupation: Boone County deputy sheriff
- Political experience: None
- Family: Wife, Erica; daughter, Sophia; sons Jack and Ralston
What are the most important issues facing the sheriff's office and how would you address them?
Godzicki: The sheriff's office is about 21 years old and needs updates. I secured funding to perform necessary jail control upgrades without burdening the taxpayer. This will update electronic systems and provide additional controls to be installed. It will lessen the burden on dispatch and allow our jailers to perform their duties more efficiently. I will add a third daytime jailer to assist with transports and inmate appearances in court. This will create a safer environment within the jail facility.Additionally, changes are being made to reassign staff duties to allow for better oversight of the sheriff's office. Due to recent retirements and resignations, I will be hiring a deputy with plans to promote a general crime detective and road sergeant. The deputy's workstation is being remodeled to allow for a more efficient workspace. The patrol vehicle fleet is fiscally unsustainable. Budgetary changes are being made to accommodate this issue.
Rose: At this time, the most important area to be addressed is the current transition in staff due to recent retirements and resignation of three of our top four positions, two of which were key leadership spots. This transition also leaves our office having to hire and train new deputies, which is a long-term process if candidates are not currently certified officers. I would first look to fill the open sergeant position to start building a strong leadership team to address some overdue updating to structure, accountability and standard procedure practices. Filling the remaining deputy position will need to be addressed as soon as possible, as well, to get that training process started.
Law enforcement retention and recruitment has been a challenge across the Midwest. How would you tackle that problem and ensure Boone County has a full force of talented employees?
Godzicki: Law enforcement recruitment can be a challenge. There are fewer people applying for these jobs than in the past. Pay can certainly be a factor in attracting and retaining good employees. However, most people would agree that pay isn't everything. The other part of that equation is working in a professional environment where employees are respected, treated fairly, training and safety are prioritized, and family comes first. Boone County deputies will bereceiving a pay increase that will help keep us competitive with local agencies. But most importantly, Boone County will continue to be a desired place to work because we partially embrace a culture of macromanagement. Our deputies have the freedom to do their work but still receive support and guidance. This can create a healthy work environment that allows personnel to thrive and become the professionals that society deserves. Pay, plus a healthy work environment, equals retention.
Rose: The sheriff’s office has been fortunate to have quality candidates from the area or have had prior experience with the office. Things I feel that attract or keep employees are wages, opportunities and supportive leadership. Wages were recently addressed by our contract negotiations team and the board of supervisors. A contract with significant wage increases over the coming years was agreed upon. Opportunities need to be available to give employees something to look forward to, as well as spread around the knowledge in those specialized fields. That can be done by spreading them out over multiple staff members, set time limits on the holding of assignments, and look into the expansion of current programs/addition ofprograms. Last, but most important, supportive leadership. Be involved with the staff, have genuine interest in their well-being and development, and demonstrate trust in them by delegating responsibility and authority to them, not just tasks.
The Boone County Sheriff’s Office has taken significant steps in recent months to extend public information access, but the data still lacks some information. What changes would you suggest to enhance the public’s access to this information?
Godzicki: On behalf of the Boone County Sheriff's Office, I always strive to be transparent and more engaging with the public. For these reasons I was tasked with interfacing with the public through social media platforms. I directly engaged with the news media to get them the information they have a right to. The news media play a critical role in a free society. Recently, there has been an upgrade to the Boone County website. There have been improvements, but there are some technological issues to overcome with software. Also, I want to get back to the traditional typed press releases to better inform the public of what is happening within the community. This can also have an effect of better oversight of the Boone County Sheriff's Office by both administration and the public. Enhancements will be coming to the existing website that will provide the public with additional information.
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Rose: Social media is the most used access point for the public to interact these days. It should be utilized to share verified and pertinent information that the public needs access to quickly, such as weather-related issues, emergency situations, road closures, etc. To keep the public/followers informed we should explore putting out weekly/bi-weekly press releases, links to current inmate information, program information/updates (K-9, drone, Governor's Traffic Safety Bureau, etc.), staff acknowledgements and highlights. In order to build successful relationships with our citizens, they need to have access to information, be engaged with us and have a way to provide their input. Utilizing a text/calling program that citizens can sign up for to get emergency updates would also be beneficial for the immediate distribution of information.
Where to vote in the Boone County special election March 21
Boone County will hold four voting centers open to any eligible voter for Tuesday's special election. They are:
- Boone County Courthouse — 201 State St. in Boone
- Boone County Fairgrounds — 1601 Industrial Road in Boone
- Madrid Community Room — 303 S. Water St. in Madrid
- Leonard Good Community Center — 114 S.W. Eighth St. in Ogden
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
In-person absentee voting is available in the auditor's office during regular business hours until 4:30 p.m. March 20.
Teresa Kay Albertson covers politics, crime, courts and local government in Ames and central Iowafor the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register. Reach her on Twitter @TeresaAlberts11 and at firstname.lastname@example.org, 515-419-6098.