OTTUMWA — The jail's new assistant administrator hopes to implement constructive changes in the department.
Wapello County Sheriff Mark Miller said Sasha Buseman, 25, was promoted to the assistant jail administrator position after Chris Swope was promoted to jail administrator following Jeremy Weller's departure.
"We've never had a female in that position," Miller said.
Buseman, originally of Hedrick, said she always sought out a career in law enforcement. She considers herself the "black sheep" of her family since some found themselves on the wrong side of the law. She wanted to join law enforcement to have a chance at changing people for the better.
While Buseman is the first female to enter the position, Miller said women in law enforcement isn't as uncommon as some may think.
"And she wasn't selected based on her gender," he said. "She was selected just based on the fact that we think she did a real good job in the interview and has done a good job so far. It just so happens she's a woman."
Buseman agreed, noting law enforcement's increasing diversity.
More women are joining law enforcement, Miller said, though he couldn't pinpoint a reason.
"People have said, 'How come there are no women deputies?'" Miller said. "Well, we've never had anybody test before. But a lot of people aren't interested in working in the sheriff's office as small staffed as ours."
Buseman's position has existed since 1999, a late shift that helps supervise jail staff and assist the jail administrator with the jail's organization and inmate and employee needs. There are currently 25 employees in the secure perimeter of the jail, Miller said, including 15 correctional officers.
"There are a multitude of issues that come with managing a jail," Miller said. "It's amazing all the logistics and everything that happens in a correctional facility in a day's time around here. We've got prisoner movement all the time and issues from housing and people incarcerated."
Buseman's hire was approved at Tuesday night's Wapello County Board of Supervisors meeting.
"One of my goals is to discover and introduce more efficient and effective ways of running the facility," she said. "There are some things we do in the jail that are time-consuming so I'll be looking at ways to save time and cut out steps to save money."
Buseman isn't new to the jail; she's been a correctional officer for the last four years. The department wanted to promote from within and several applied for the job, Miller said.
"She's really dependable and she's got a good head on her shoulders and makes good decisions," Miller said. "She's done it all in the jail. We appreciate her input and thought she would be the perfect choice."
Tuesday morning, Buseman and Swope took off for the Iowa Medical Classification Center (known as Oakdale prison) in Coralville to drop off six prisoners, reducing Wapello County Jail to 68 inmates. The jail has a capacity of 120, but Buseman said she'd "hate to see us fit 120 inmates down there."
"I'm excited to grow with the department and see what comes of this," she said.
The board of supervisors also approved a $500 donation to the Ottumwa Babe Ruth baseball team to pay for hotel expenses. The team leaves on Thursday for Purcellville, Va. where the boys will compete in the Babe Ruth World Series. "This is the first year the kids are not staying with host families, so they have to pay for hotel rooms," said Brian Morgan, who has volunteered with little leagues for years. "Babe Ruth rules say each kid has to have his own room; they can't put three kids in one room. So they're looking at over $1,000 a night just for hotel rooms, not counting food and transportation to the facility, which is 20 miles each way."