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Walter seeks Democratic nomination for Webster County sheriff

A sergeant in the Webster County Sheriff’s Office who has been its canine handler for 13 years has declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for sheriff.

”I’m one of the longest serving deputies with the department at this point,” said Tony Walter. ”Since 2004, I’ve watched the department growing. I’ve been able to see it advance and progress into the future of what I think law enforcement is heading towards. With that experience of watching it grow, it helps me to see where the department can go in the future and how we can keep progressing.

”Now’s a good time to step up and try to take on that leadership role and bring my leadership ideas to the sheriff’s office,” he added.

Walter is hoping to replace Democratic Sheriff Jim Stubbs, who will retire when his term expires on Jan. 4, 2021.

He said expanding the community outreach of the Sheriff’s Office will be one of his major goals if he is elected.

”I love going out there and dealing with the public,” he said.

He participates in the National Night Out and Santa Cops programs. He said he wants to push community outreach to include more interaction between deputies and residents, especially children. He said he would encourage deputies to stop and chat with kids they see out playing. And since the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have designated school resource officers, he would urge deputies to spend time at schools, perhaps by eating lunch with the students.

Walter said that if elected, he would increase training for deputies by taking advantage of instructors already in the department, Iowa Central Community College and other local agencies. More training, he said, ”doesn’t have to break the bank.”

The candidate said that as sheriff he would address mental health by giving deputies more training to deal with mentally ill people, and also supporting the mental health of the deputies.

”This job is full of tragedy,” he said. ”If you’re in this job for very long, you’re going to see tragic events and horrible things.”

Walter said he believes addressing staffing issues at the Webster County Jail is a more immediate priority than building a new jail. He said the jail is often understaffed, and there is constant turnover in the ranks of the jailers.

”Before we go and spend tens of millions of dollars to build a new jail, we need to figure out these smaller issues,” he said. ”Why are we constantly understaffed? Why are we having so much turnover? Why is staff leaving? How can we retain that staff?

”There’s no sense in spending tens of millions of dollars on a new jail and filling it with 100 inmates if we can’t find the staff to handle that,” he added.

Walter grew up in Corning. He earned an associate degree in criminal justice from Iowa Central Community College.

He joined the Humboldt Police Department in 2002 and graduated from the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in 2003.

He became a Webster County deputy in 2004. Then in 2007, he became the office’s canine handler.

Walter is a member of the U.S. Police Canine Association. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, he and his canine partner won the association’s regional and national competitions for narcotics vehicle searches. In 2009, they were the association’s overall national champion.

He has completed training through the Federal Bureau of Investigation Leadership School and the Midwest Counter Drug Training Center. He has completed courses in drug interdiction in rural areas, interviews and interrogation, search and seizure and highway drug interdiction.

Walter was promoted to sergeant in 2016.

He and his wife have four children. Away from work, he plays volleyball, hunts and has served as an assistant softball coach.

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