Osceola County Sheriff Weber to retire at end of month
Began career in law enforcement in 1978
SIBLEY, Iowa — After more than 40 years in law enforcement, Osceola County’s sheriff is calling it a career at the end of this month.
Doug Weber has been with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office since 1979. He began his career as an officer with Sanborn Police Department the previous year.
“I’d always been interested in law enforcement and after high school graduation I attended college, earning degrees in law enforcement and public administration,” Weber said.
Starting his career with Osceola County as a deputy, he served as first deputy and chief deputy prior to becoming sheriff. He was first elected to the office of sheriff in 2005, and went on to serve four terms in that capacity.
“I will turn 65 years old at the end of the month and felt it was time to retire,” Weber said. “I have many interests, including travelling with my wife Patsy, hunting, fishing, tent camping, woodworking and music. Patsy and I plan on continuing to live in Ashton. Patsy works at Citizens State Bank in Sheldon.”
In looking back on his career, Weber said he most liked helping people and resolving issues. He also cited the challenges of criminal investigations, statement analysis, evidence collection, forensics and keeping abreast of new technology as other aspects of the job he enjoyed.
“We were the first law enforcement agency in the state of Iowa to implement the Text-A-Tip program in 2008,” Weber said.
The least enjoyable part of his job?
“Delivering death messages and dealing with children who are the victims of abuse,” he stated.
Unsurprisingly, there have been changes in how Weber has performed his duties over the course of his four-decade career. Technology and computers have helped law enforcement be more efficient in information sharing with other agencies, he said. Among noteworthy technological advances are the ability to search for fingerprints with the aid of AFIS (Automatic Fingerprint Information System), the development of DNA and CODIS (combined DNA Index System), in-car cameras, body cameras and many more that he said “help officers do a better job.”
As for whether people are easier to deal with now than earlier in his career, Weber said it’s difficult to say.
“I can report that officers are continually receiving better training in communication skills, professionalism and dealing with difficult people,” he explained.
That “dealing with difficult people” comes with the territory of law enforcement, acknowledged Weber, who said there have been some “particularly dangerous situations” over the years — though he declined to describe specific instances. He did note some humorous on-the-job occurrences, as well.
“All officers deal with violent individuals sometimes with weapons,” he said. “Most of the time we can resolve the issue peacefully.
“Law enforcement is an interesting job. Sometimes we deal with difficult situations, but overall it is a rewarding job.”
There’s one thing Weber does admit he won’t miss — driving around in a winter storm. Perhaps, then, it’s no coincidence that he’s retiring before the season’s first significant snowfall.
One thing he insists is purely coincidental about the timing of this retirement is the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID is not a factor,” Weber said. “We have had to deal with it like everyone else by taking more precautions. Through the years we have received training in dealing with other infectious diseases such as AIDS, hepatitis and tuberculosis.”
Weber’s replacement as Osceola County Sheriff will be Keith Wollmuth, currently chief deputy with the department.
“I have worked with Kevin for over 30 years,” Weber said. “He has been my chief deputy for all of my four terms. He has done a great job for me, and I am confident he will do a great job as sheriff.”
And, as Wollmuth takes the reins and begins to do that “great job,” Weber expects to miss being part of a department he has been with for many, many years.
“What I’ll miss most is interacting with the public and my staff,” he said. “I have a terrific staff that are well trained and very competent. I will miss the camaraderie with my staff.”