The Hancock County Sheriff's Office is in North Central Iowa in the City of Garner. The Sheriff's Office was originally located in the County courthouse which was constructed and turned over to the county in 1899. The current Hancock County Sheriff's Office was later constructed south of the courthouse as a separate building in 1977. Prior to 1977, Hancock County did not have a county jail. In 1999 a courthouse remodeling project was completed connecting the courthouse to the Law Enforcement Center.

Hancock County has eight incorporated cities, three of which (Garner, Britt and Kanawha) have their own police departments. The Hancock County Sheriff's Office provides contractual law enforcement services to the other five incorporated cities (Klemme, Goodell, Corwith, Woden and Crystal Lake). Hutchins, Hayfield and Miller are three unincorporated cities within the County that are provided protection through the local county law enforcement surcharge.

Hancock County has the dubious distinction of having a previous Sheriff on the National Law Enforcement Officer's Memorial. Sheriff Ernest Henry (EH) Wahlert was killed in the line of duty on February 4, 1930. Sheriff Wahlert has been in office only 13 months at the time of his death. Sheriff Wahlert and Deputy Sheriff Bruce Orr were in the Britt area trying to apprehend a bootlegger. Wahlert and Orr followed a vehicle north out of Britt on the Crystal Lake Road (now James Avenue). This vehicle proceeded one mile north prior to turning into a residence. Wahlert and Orr drove past this location. While doing so, the vehicle they were following turned around and proceeded back towards Britt. Sheriff Wahlert drove to the intersection to the north of this residence and turned around to follow the vehicle back towards Britt. Sheriff Wahlert dropped Deputy Orr off near the residence where the suspect vehicle turned around. Orr concealed himself in the ditch while Wahlert proceeded to Britt to see if he could locate the vehicle. Deputy Orr reported that a short time later he observed Sheriff Wahlert (by vehicle description and license number) drive north on the Crystal Lake Road past his position and attempt to turn around in the roadway. Wahlert dropped off the roadway in the snow and appears to have been trying to dig himself out with a shovel. It was assumed that he was bending over to scoop snow when his .38 caliber automatic Colt handgun fell from its holster (shoulder holster) to the frozen ground and discharged. The bullet struck Sheriff Wahlert just under the navel and travelled through his torso into his lung. Deputy Orr, seeing that Wahlert's vehicle was not moving, walked towards the scene. Upon his arrival, Sheriff Wahlert was too weak to tell the story of how it all occurred. Upon the arrival of the Doctor, Sheriff Wahlert had died. Hancock County received confirmation on February 13, 2007 that Sheriff Wahlert's name would be added to the Memorial on May 14, 2010.

Hancock County Sheriff's Office History