Law Enforcement Victim Service Award

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Sgt. Brent Ostrander was awarded the Law Enforcement Victim Service Award on April 26. From left are Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Duax and Sgt. Ostrander. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

In a crowded room full of colleagues, proud family members, friends, and grateful victims/survivors Investigative Sergeant Brent W. Ostrander of the Clayton County Sheriff’s Office was awarded the Law Enforcement Victim Service Award at the county building located at 600 Gunder Road in Elkader on April 26. 

Awards ceremony

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tim Duax and Victim/Witness Specialist Holly Elliot were on hand to present the prestigious, federal-level award. "Sgt. Ostrander was nominated by many of his peers and victims/survivors in the northern district of Iowa," Duax noted. 

U.S. Attorney Duax opened the program, stating, "I am thrilled to be here to present this award to such a deserving individual. Brent has the ability to compassionately create a dialog with a seven-year-old victim of sexual assault and gain their confidence to help convict their perpetrator." 

Duax went on to say, "Abusers manipulate their victims to not talk to law enforcement. Sgt. Ostrander has the ability to crack that shell and cultivate a secure relationship so the victim feels safe to speak openly about the abuse."

Making a difference

The dedicated detective has provided sexual assault training for 600 officers, who in turn may have helped 30 victims of their own over the course of a year, touching the lives of 18,000 victims who were treated with dignity and care. 

A victim/survivor shared her personal account of her positive encounter with Sgt. Ostrander. With heartfelt gratitude she said, "Brent was very respectful and kind to my children throughout the entire investigation. He checked in with us often and followed up once the investigation was complete."

Accepting his award

Sgt. Ostrander stepped up to accept his award and thanked the many individuals who have impacted his career. "This is very unexpected, but appreciated," said Ostrander. 

He gazed back at the victim/survivor who shared her story – gestured, and said with emotion, "I do take my job personally for that reason." 

Twenty-plus years ago Sgt. Ostrander decided to pursue a career in law enforcement – following in the footsteps of his father's own 30-year career as a Detective with the Prairie du Chien Police Department. "I want to be that guy," he said, proudly pointing to his father. "He gave it all right up until the end of his career." 

Sgt. Ostrander thanked his co-workers for having the ability to allow him to practice what he preaches. He noted because of the training opportunities his career trajectory switched from "catching the bad guys" to "helping the victims."

"I look at everyone that has supported me," he said apologizing for his emotion. "Thank you everyone for your support and nomination!"

Career highligts

Sgt. Ostrander was hired full-time in December 2002 with the Guttenberg Police Department. During that time he was promoted as the first K-9 Handler with the Guttenberg Police Department. 

Sgt. Ostrander and his partner, Ben, a German Shepherd remained with the Guttenberg Police force until 2006, when he began his career with the Clayton County Sheriff's Office as a Deputy Sheriff.


The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) has been active in Clayton County for about 10 years.

In 2015 Sgt. Ostrander completed two online courses from the University of Arkansas on sexual abuse investigations for rural agencies; received Training on Trauma Informed Investigations in 2017, and Trauma Informed Interviews training the following year.  

"It is important to mention, these sensitive investigations are really solved through a group of professionals," he noted. "Not one person can take all of the credit.  The Iowa Department of Human Services, Iowa Child Protection Centers with their forensic interviewers, and the Clayton County Attorney’s Office all play vital roles in each investigation's success."

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