West Union welcomes new officer

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West Union welcomes new officer

By Mike Van Sickle
Union editor

A Dunkerton native has been sworn in as a full-time West Union police officer. Prior to being administered the oath of office Monday by Mayor Kent Halverson, Benjamin Baskerville previously served as a reserve officer with the Oelwein Police Department for three years. His hiring was approved by the West Union City Council on Monday, Nov. 18.

Baskerville is a 2009 graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, where he earned a BA degree in criminology. The 26-year-old intends to soon move from his current Cedar Falls residence to West Union.

“I felt West Union is a nice town, a bit of a hub,” said the newly hired police officer.

“When I first viewed the downtown, I thought it looked like West Union was a progressive community,” he added. “Much like Cedar Falls, for a (downtown) project like that to be successful, you need a lot of people working together. I want to be a part of that.”

Baskerville noted that his father is a retired Black Hawk County deputy sheriff, and his mother is currently employed with the Black Hawk County Sheriff’s Office. A brother also serves with the military police in the U.S. Air Force. 

“I’m really excited to work here. I wasn’t on duty on Saturday, but I still wanted to come into work. I would do this job for free, but it’s great to get paid,” he added with a smile.

West Union Police Chief Brent Parker said among his main focuses is to get Officer Baskerville involved with the local drug task force operations.

Upon Parker’s recommendation, West Union City Council members on Monday also approved the hiring of full-time police officer Michael Tobin of Mason City. Tobin is tentatively scheduled to be sworn into office on Monday, Dec. 16.

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