Law Enforcement Concerns at Council Meeting

By Aaron Eberle
The City Council met on Tuesday, January 5, at 7 p.m. All members were present but Councilwoman Brenda Cullen.
Fall River County Deputy, Josh Buckwheat gave the law enforcement report. Several questions were asked about service to the City of Edgemont.
The City pays the Fall River County Sheriff’s office $115,000 per year to have 30 hours per week in the City.
Council was concerned that they were not getting those services for their money, especially now that Martha Jarman is working for dispatch, instead of as a deputy.
Mayor Carl Shaw suggested that they really don’t know actually how much Fall River County is providing for the city. Deputy Buckwheat suggested that any of them were welcome to ride along. Councilwoman Sandra Woodward would like to take part in a ride along.
Buckwheat got asked if he or other deputies knew to check at City Hall for reports on what was going on. Buckwheat was not aware of that. This is something that Jarman always did.
Shaw also stated that he had to talk to a citizen about parking their two ton truck the wrong direction on main.
Shaw was concerned about the law not being very visible. Buckwheat agreed that the City needed more than 30 hours of service.
Woodward gave a Public Works report. The crew has been busy with normal duties, along with snow removal and lift station duties.
Salaries and wages have increased. Ashley Cortney and the Public Works Crew are all part of the union. Rheta Reagen, Agnus Reecy and Karen Cain are not union employees. For the pay raise increases, please see the minutes on pages eight and nine.
Ken Orrock gave a presentation on things the City could do to separate themselves from the current contract they have with the Fall River County Sheriff’s Department. There would be three different phases or options with this separation.
Orrock currently is a state’s attorney in Bennett County. He also has criminal justice background.
Orrock has reviewed contracts since 2002 that were made between the county and the city. If the city separates itself, the Sheriff’s office would still have to provide some service. They have an obligation no matter what.
One of the options the city could have is to have a slate of off duty officers on an hourly wage. Costs would be minimal in this scenario. This is a temporary thing, but could be beneficial to help set up a more permanent situation.
In a third or final phase, Orrock spoke of a more permanent situation that would afford the city a more visible officer. This would be a chance not only for the mayor and council to be involved, but the community as well.
A possibility of a full time officer for the city of Edgemont would be feasible in this third option. Orrick believes that it would be economically and financially feasible to go on. He believes the city could have up to 4 people working for them in this capacity.
An interim officer could help to make decisions with the mayor and council to move into phase three. Community members could sit in on the initial interview process.
Grants and other funding could be available to the city to help fund this separation. This, along with the baseline that is already in the city’s budget, should be able to cover any expenses they may have with a full separation.
In 2002, the city provided a vehicle to the county. The county may have to return a vehicle if separation occurs.
Disadvantages to this would be that it may be more difficult to work with Fall River County during and after the transition. The county jail is where prisoners would need to be transported and the City is currently using the county’s dispatch services. There could be other options along those lines, but may not be as handy or accessible.
Councilwoman Barb Strozewski reported that she had spoke with Sheriff Bob Evans. Evans has had six applicants for a deputy sheriff position in Edgemont. Evans is conducting interviews now.
In other news:
During public comment, Barbara Dunker asked how the city was coming with the new proposed water project. Karen Cain is working with people to finalize details.
Shaw is hopeful that bids will start in the next few months. He is also hopeful that the construction can begin sometime in April.
Dunker asked when water and other utility rates will go up. The response was probably in the next few months.
A list of volunteer firemen was read. The complete list is in the minutes.
The council approved the Dakota Pump and control service contract. Dakota Pump provides maintenance for the lift station for an annual fee of $800.
A quote from Bobcat was given for a new Toolcat 5600 G-series. This would replace the 2011 Bobcat S185 skid steer loader. All skid steer attachments the city has would work on the new Bobcat. The value of the new piece of machinery (after trade-in on the old one) would be $20,900.
Woodward is not interested in this trade at the present time. West would like to be able to talk to Public Works Foreman, Joe Koller and his crew before any decisions were made.
Strozewski wondered if anything would change if they waited to vote on this. Shaw stated that he would have to get a new quote, but it should be similar.
West stated that he was interested in seeing what the Public Works crew may have in other expenses (even foreseen ones) before they made a strong commitment to this. West wanted to wait 30 days. This item will be discussed in further detail at the next regular meeting.
The next regular meeting is on Tuesday, February 2, at 7 p.m.

Fall River County Herald Star

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