Courts & Detention
Chief Doug Phillips, a veteran of the Sheriff's Office serving since 1976 leads the Courts and Detention Division and is in charge of the day-to-day functions of the Courthouse Security, Transportation, and Civil Process.
Courts consists of three areas:
Civil Process: Is responsible for receiving, processing and serving civil and criminal court orders and legal documents. To expedite the process of filing time-sensitive documents such as protective orders, the Sheriff's Office has a Civil Process Satellite Office on the first floor of the Court Staging Building. Sheriff's Sales and garnishment processing will continue to be held at the Civil Process Office at the Polk County River Place facility.
Courthouse Security: Provides law enforcement functions within the Polk County Courthouse and River Point Court annex building. Courthouse security deputies ensure the safety and security of those working and conducting business within these facilities. A screening station is located at the south public entrance to the courthouse building. Handicap access to the building is located on the Westside of the courthouse. Court Staging is located in the former jail facility west of the Polk County Courthouse. From this location, deputies stage and transport inmates to court appearances and hearings. The Court Staging Building is operational and staffed with deputies anytime the courts are in session.
Transportation: Is responsible for the movement of inmates outside the jail facility. These movements can include, but is not limited to, medical appointments, transportation to and from state institutions and retrieving inmates from agencies around the state and country who have charges pending in Polk County.
The current Polk County Jail facility opened November 1, 2008. The 325,000 square-feet facility sits on 40 acres of land just north of Des Moines. The facility has 1,500 beds and the ability to expand capacity an additional 1,000 beds to handle the projected increase of Polk County’s inmate population through at least 2030. The jail is a direct supervision facility.
The Polk County Jail is the largest facility of its kind in the state of Iowa and takes advantage of the latest advances in security and jail design to house and manage inmates. The jail has full on-site kitchen and laundry facilities and houses medical services.
In 2012, Polk County and the Sheriff’s Office collaborated with Bridges of Iowa, a non-profit substance abuse treatment program, to provide an out of custody treatment program in an attempt to reduce inmate recidivism rates. Polk County allowed Bridges of Iowa to facilitate use of unoccupied space in the jail facility building for their treatment program. To date the program has had a positive impact for treating inmates, in lieu of incarceration. Polk County and the Sheriff’s Office continue to look at ways to reduce recidivism rates through partnerships with community based programs as alternatives to incarceration. By addressing the root cause of behaviors we believe that we can continue to lower our repeat offenders.