By PETER KASPARI
CLARION - In just a few short months as Wright County's chief deputy, Jeremy Hogrefe has been kept busy in his new job.
-Messenger photo by Peter Kaspari
Wright County Chief Deputy Jeremy HogrEfe, left, looks on as Sheriff Jason Schluttenhofer completes some work on his computer at the Wright County Sheriff’s Office. Hogrefe, who has been with the department for 10 years, was recently appointed chief deputy.
The 10-year veteran of the Wright County Sheriff's Department, who was appointed chief deputy after Sheriff Jason Schluttenhofer won a special election in April, said one part of his job that has kept him busiest was a tornado that hit Belmond on June 12.
"It was here in the county that the tornado did the most damage," Hogrefe said. "We provided security for the damaged buildings and assisted with emergency management and basically made sure we could shut the area off. That way the people that needed to get in there were safe and had the freedom to do their job."
That's just one challenge Hogrefe has had to deal with since being appointed chief deputy.
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"Some of the challenges have been just trying to do the day-to-day job along with learning the ins and outs of the office," he said.
Despite the challenges, Hogrefe said he enjoys coming to work every day.
"It's been fun," he said. "It's a learning process, and I like to learn something new every day."
As chief deputy, Hogrefe said many of his responsibilities involve administrative tasks within the department.
"I assist the sheriff with the day to day operations," he said. "I'm mainly assisting him in the budget, but I also take care of payroll, vacation and sick time and scheduling."
Originally a member of the Eagle Grove Police Department, Hogrefe said he joined the Sheriff's Department in June 2003 after getting to know the deputies.
"I thought it would be a good match for me," Hogrefe said. "And I wanted to further my career by taking part in that."
He enjoys being a part of Wright County, and especially working with the community.
"They're very supportive of the sheriff's office," he said.
In fact, Hogrefe said he hopes to make the relationship between the community and Sheriff's Department stronger than it is now.
"I'd like to get more involved with the children of the county," he said. "I want to show them that they shouldn't be afraid and that law enforcement is here to help them."
He also wants to make the department more open so that if people have concerns, they can talk to the deputies.
"I want to have a more community-oriented sheriff's office where people feel they can come in and talk to us," Hogrefe said. "That could help us out as well."
Hogrefe said he looks forward to the future with Schluttenhofer and the other members of the department.
"I want to see the sheriff's office continue their success with our good employees and to continue serving the public," he said. "I'm glad that I have a say in the part of making the department a better place."