Jan 01

December 2017

Posted on January 1, 2018 at 5:52 PM by Craig Johnson

Last month I talked about opioids, their abuse, and the proactive approach we are taking to combat it.  This month I would like go a step further to remind folks about our Drug Drop Box located in the lobby of the Sheriff’s Office. 

About a year ago, we were given a Drug Drop Box from the Iowa Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy in relation to a program called Iowa Take Back.  The Drop Box is a mailbox set up at our office, which provides a secure and confidential community option for disposing of unneeded medicines.  The Iowa Take Back program is designed primarily to collect controlled prescription drugs or those medicines classified as having a higher potential for abuse because they pose a greater threat to the health and safety of Iowans.  We do take all prescription medications.  However, we do not take needles.

We do have a sharps container here for inmates, some of those recently became full, and I had a similar question, what do we do with the needles?  We were able to contact a local hospital that took them but after looking into it, there are some other options.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, each year 8 million people across the country use more than 3 billion needles.  Sharps must be properly managed to prevent injury by unintentional sticks or disease transmission.  People at the greatest risk of being stuck by used sharps include sanitation and sewage treatment workers, janitors, housekeepers, and children.

In Iowa, it is currently legal to place used sharps in a lidded, rigid container, into the garbage; however, this method is highly discouraged due to the health risk posed to the public.  If no other disposal option is available, place used sharps in a red sharps container or in a lidded, rigid container such as a bleach bottle or detergent bottle and follow these instructions;

Label the empty detergent container “Do Not Recycle:  “Household Sharps”

Put needles in point-first into the container

Dispose of container when it is half-full of sharps

Keep container capped and you may even tape it shut to prevent spills

I would recommend if you have sharps, you should first contact your solid waste agency to find out what is recommended.  There are also mail-back programs that allow you to mail your used sharps to a licensed disposal facility.  For a list of providers, visit the Coalition for Safe Community Needle Disposal at www.safeneedledisposal.org. 

And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me at mtschirgi@claytoncountyia.gov, or stop by to see me.

Thanks and be safe,

Sheriff Mike Tschirgi



Dec 25

November 2017

Posted on December 25, 2017 at 7:30 PM by Craig Johnson

“What’s New in County 22?”

          Recently at the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office, we have been working on taking a proactive approach to the Opioid Epidemic that is going on throughout the nation.  You may have heard about the dramatic rise in the misuse of opioid prescription pain relievers and opioid overdose deaths.  We have not seen much of it around here, but we are hearing it is knocking on our door.  Many different types of drugs are called opioids.  Most of them are pain relievers; however, heroin is also called an opioid.  Many people misusing prescription pain relievers like OxyContin, Oxycodone, etc. get addicted to these drugs, and the consequences are sometimes fatal.  Opioids can slow down a person’s breathing; and overdose on prescription opioids can completely stop a person’s breathing.

          The Clayton County Law Enforcement Association recently held a training for Clayton County Law Enforcement Officers to use Nasal Narcan in an emergency.  Nasal Narcan blocks or reverses the effects of opioid medication, including extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing and loss of consciousness.  Narcan is sprayed into the nose while the patient is lying on the ground.  I am currently adapting a policy and procedure for our officers to use Narcan here at the sheriff’s office. 

          The State of Iowa was just allocated 2.7 million dollars in the fight against Opioid Abuse.  Of that money, The Iowa Department of Public Health and Substance Abuse Mental Health Service Administration sent $40,000 dollars to the Northeast Iowa Behavior Health Center in Decorah, Iowa.  The Northeast Iowa Behavioral Health Center represents Allamakee, Clayton, Winneshiek, Fayette and Howard counties.  Currently Clayton County Supervisor Ron McCartney and I serve as Board Members.  This money is being used to train officers in the area with Narcan, Opioid related education, and the purchase of Narcan, which costs $75 to $160 dollars per dose.

          We are also in discussion with the other Board of Supervisors on making a resolution, and on behalf of the ISAC (Iowa State Association of Counties) to support litigation by a law firm Crueger Dickinson and Simmons Hanly Conroy, to enjoin litigation to hold certain Pharmaceutical firms responsible for damages to the public in misrepresenting the safety of Opioids.  This is a no cost to the county on a contingent fee basis.  The firms will cover all costs and no out of pocket expense to Clayton County.  The ISAC Board believes it is important for counties in Iowa to join counties in other states to form a unified front on this litigation.   


And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me at mtschirgi@claytoncountyia.gov, or stop by to see me.

Thanks and be safe,

Sheriff Mike Tschirgi


Dec 25

October 2017

Posted on December 25, 2017 at 7:28 PM by Craig Johnson

What’s New in County 22?”

          This month in my article I would like to explain a little bit about our dispatch/jailers.  Our dispatcher/jailers are the backbone of our department.  They usually work four-ten hour shifts, 5 hours of dispatching and 5 hours of jail duties normally.  Some of their duties include using a computer-aided dispatch system, receiving emergency calls from the public that are requesting police, fire, medical or other emergency services.  They determine the nature and location of the emergency; determine priorities, and dispatch police, fire, ambulance or other emergency units as necessary and in accordance with established procedures.  They receive and process 911 emergency calls.  Maintain contact with all units on assignment, maintain status and location of police and fire units. Monitor direct emergency alarms, answer non-emergency calls for assistance. Enter, update and retrieve information from a variety of computer systems. Receive requests for information regarding vehicle registration, driving records and warrants, and provide pertinent data. They monitor several complex public safety radio frequencies. They operate a variety of communications equipment, including radio consoles, telephones and computer systems. A Dispatcher/Jailer’s responsibility is to watch over individuals who have been arrested and incarcerated.  Typically, these individuals are awaiting trial, or have been sentenced to spend time in the county jail.  They may also monitor inmate surveillance, transport inmates to court on occasion, monitor jail visits, maintain inmate paperwork and perform general duties around the facility.        

            Currently at the Sheriff’s Office, we have two openings for dispatcher/jailer so we are tweaking our schedule to make sure all shifts are covered.  Tonya Wille was part-time dispatch/jail and I promoted her to full time but still need to hire one more.  We are taking applications until Friday, November 17th at 4pm.  The hours will vary, to include nights, weekends and holidays.  If you have any interest in this position, please stop in for an application or you can find one online on our website.

Car vs deer accidents are on the rise.  Be aware that they will be moving at all times and “don’t veer for deer. My deputies have already accounted for two deer hits so far.  I know hunters have been and will be going out to get their big buck.  Please remember hunter safety training and tips.  Do not point your weapon loaded or unloaded at anything you do not want to shoot.  Bowhunters please use safety harnesses and have a safe and successful hunting season.

And if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me anytime, e-mail me at mtschirgi@claytoncountyia.gov, or stop by to see me.

Thanks and be safe,

Sheriff Mike Tschirgi