Frequently Asked Questions
What is or isn't a civil matter?
The Buchanan County Sheriff's Office gets several calls concerning issues that are beyond the scope of its duties. One such area is Civil Law. Civil Law governs agreements between people or businesses and people. A civil matter is one in which there has been no violation of criminal law. For example, a person has an arrangement of some sort with another person. The other person is not meeting the obligations set forth in the agreement. This is a civil matter and the Sheriff's Office is not obligated, required, or has any law enforcement capability to resolve. Such issues are referred to small claims court. According to Iowa Code Section 631.1(3), the district court sitting in small claims has concurrent jurisdiction of an action of replevin if the value of the property claimed is four thousand dollars or less for actions commenced before July 1, 2002, and five thousand dollars or less for actions commenced on or after July 1, 2002. When commenced under this chapter, the action is a small claim for the purposes of this chapter. Buchanan County Sheriff's Deputies are only able to respond to and act officially on matters that are criminal in nature.
How do I get a No Contact Order?
Frequently, the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office is called to have a No Contact Order or Protective Order issued. Law Enforcement agencies are not able to issue no contact orders; this is the jurisdiction of the court system. To seek a No Contact Order or Protective Order, individuals are directed to call the Buchanan County Clerk of Court at (319) 334-2196.
How do I pay a traffic ticket?
Tickets can be paid through the mail. Send the lower portion of your ticket and your payment in the form of a personal check or money order (no cash) to:
Clerk of District Court - TRAFFIC
210 Fifth Avenue NE
Independence, IA 50644
Tickets may also be paid (or a payment plan set up) in person by visiting the Clerk of Court at the Buchanan County Courthouse located at 210 Fifth Avenue NE, Independence, IA. You may also pay online by credit or debit card at http://www.iowacourts.gov/.
You only need to pay the amount listed as "Total" on the citation. The bond amount listed at the bottom of the citation is the amount the citation defaults to if you do not pay the total amount of the citation by the court date or set up a payment plan with the Clerk of Court prior to the court date listed on the citation.
How do I get fingerprinted for a job?
The Correctional Center provides fingerprinting to individuals who require this service for a job. Fingerprinting is done on Wednesdays from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. To set up an appointment, contact the Correctional Center by calling (319) 334-2017. The fee for this service is $10.00 cash. Please have the exact amount as the Corrections Staff cannot make change.
How do I visit an inmate in jail?
The Correctional Center visitation hours are Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (excluding holidays). Inmate visitations are limited to once per week. Persons need to be pre-approved by the Jail Administrator to visit. Please call the Correctional Center a (319) 334-2017 for additional information.
How do I purchase a phone card for an inmate in jail?
You may purchase an inmate phone card by visiting Reliance Telephone's web site at http://reliancetelephone.com/. Click on the "Friends & Family" link, then click on the "Buy Inmate Phone Card" button. Simply follow the directions from there. Be sure to choose Iowa for the state and Buchanan County Jail for the facility.
What are the rules and regulations for an inmate in jail?
Use the link below to view the Inmate Handbook. This booklet is the rule book for the Buchanan County Jail. It has been prepared for inmate safety and well being as well as the safe and efficient operation of this jail. You will need Adobe Reader installed on your computer or device to view the Inmate Handbook.
How do I have my property checked on while I'm away?
The Buchanan County Sheriff's Office will check houses (vacation watches) for county residents who live outside the city limits or in towns that contract law enforcement from the Sheriff's Office. To set up a vacation watch, please visit the Sheriff's Office between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm. There is a form that needs to be filled out in person and signed. When completing this form, you will need to provide the following information:
- Date you are leaving and returning.
- Your home phone number and your cell phone number or a number where you can be reached while you are gone.
- Name, phone number, address, and vehicle description/license plate number of anyone who will be checking your house while you are gone and whether or not they have keys to the house.
- Location of lights you are leaving on and, if they are on a timer, the times they will be on.
When you return home or if you return home early, please call the Sheriff's Office so the vacation watch can be cancelled. Also, please arrange for someone to get your paper, mail, etc. while you are gone if you do not have it stopped or held. If you are going to be gone in the winter, it is a good idea to have someone clear your driveway and sidewalks of snow.
How do I evict person(s) from property I own?
This is a 3 step process:
- Notice to Quit (this can be a 3 day or 10 day notice, served by the Sheriff's Office).
- Forcible Entry and Detainer (this will involve a court date).
- Writ of Ejection (this is the actual eviction).
Contact the Civil Office at (319) 334-2568 between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm Monday through Friday for more information.
What can I do with unwanted or unused Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs and Medications?
The Buchanan County Sheriff's Office has a Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug and Medication drop box mounted outside the Sheriff's Office. Citizens can use this box to dispose of unwanted and unused drugs and medications. Please do not place needles, sharps, glass, inhalers, thermometers, gauze or other non-drug items in the drop box. The drug drop box is emptied daily and the Buchanan County Sheriff's Office coordinates with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) in the proper disposal of the drugs and medications.