Law Enforcement a Hot Button Issue at Council Meeting

By Aaron Eberle
Edgemont’s City Council met Tuesday, November 1 at 7 p.m.
Sheriff Bob Evans gave the law enforcement report. Evans stated that they had responded to 70 calls in various areas of Edgemont the past two weeks. They have spent 75 hours in Edgemont during those two weeks.
Evans stated details on various calls on the log. Councilwoman Carla Schepler complimented Evans and how he broke down the report for the council.
Dallas Stewart, a long time citizen of Edgemont, complimented Evans and the deputies for their coverage of Edgemont, during Halloween. Stewart stated that he felt it was the best coverage he has seen.
Barbara Dunker has been very worried about kids being rambunctious, playing in the street, etc. She said that she tried calling in on two occasions, but the law never showed up. Evans asked what number she had been calling. Dunker responded with a number. Evans stated that was his office number, not dispatch.
Linda Kluender stated that she felt some of the biggest problems in the community were due to bad parenting. Wayne Piper agreed and feels that it doesn’t just take the parents, but a community to raise a child.
Councilwoman Sandra Woodward gave a report on what the Public Works Crew had been doing. Mayor Carl Shaw said that he had been looking for parts for a motor grader.
During public comment, most of the citizens in attendance liked having the sheriff’s office around. They expressed some concerns about a letter that Mayor Shaw had sent out, terminating the contract with the County.
Councilman George West stated that they are working on a new contract and that they had to send the letter. West stated that he felt that they were still in the negotiation period with the county sheriff’s office.
Stewart wondered what had happened overnight, he didn’t recall anything in the letter about negotiations. Linda Kluender stated that the letter did not say that. If she was a county commissioner she would tell the council tough, after the tone of the letter.
West had been in touch with Randy Milburn about feelings on an individual police force and what Milburn thought it would take to start one. Before becoming a member of the Public Works Crew in Edgemont, Milburn served on a police force. Kluender stated that West has been in Edgemont long enough to know what it should take.
West stated that he did know certain things, but wanted more updated information. Stewart feels that an individual police force would come back and bite them.
Steve Hatfield asked if the Sheriff’s Office would be able to stay, even though the letter had been sent. The council replied that it was the intention to keep the sheriff’s office. Hatfield worked as a security office in California for years. He feels that he does not want “wannabe’s” in place of the sheriff’s office.
Councilwoman Strozewski felt that Shaw had told the commissioners one thing and the council another (both stories ran in the November 3 edition of the Edgemont Herald-Tribune). Negotiations were mentioned in one article, other options mentioned in the other article. There wasn’t much of a response. Lois Stewart felt the same as Strozewski. Strozewski also wondered why the letter didn’t state anything about negotiations.
West stated that if anyone had concerns about this issue, they could send letters to the Law Enforcement Committee or City Hall. They would not accept letters that were unsigned, they would be shredded instantly.
Kluender has read in the paper that the council feels that the sheriff/deputies are never there. Kluender sees them all of the time and she is seldom out after 10 p.m. She also stated that she would be willing to sign a letter.
Wayne Piper wondered why negotiations hadn’t been started sooner. Piper felt that would have given everybody involved with more of a window of opportunity, it shouldn’t have been last minute.
Kevin Eberle stated he feels that the council was elected to represent the citizens of Edgemont, not Mayor Shaw. Eberle asked what the original contract stated or what the council expected of the Sheriff’s office. One of the things that was mentioned was the council would like help with the enforcement of their city ordinances. Eberle stated that if the ordinances were not codified, then the law did not have to enforce. Kluender agreed.
Kluender also stated that she believes there is some communication problems. Kluender feels that the council is very lucky to have the sheriff’s office for the current price.
Evans stated that the City of Custer has a similar arrangement with Custer County. Evans stated that the City of Custer is paying over $300,000 for their yearly contract.
Trudy Dibble stated that she feels that Carl is the one that is not happy with the Law Enforcement. She knows that the council had been talking to Ken Orrock. Because of Dibble’s years of experience with the Hot Springs Police Department, she knows that Evans does not have to go into detail about what is on their general log. Most of this is not public knowledge until it goes through the court system. Dibble believes it doesn’t become city business just because of a contract.
Dibble believes that there has been more presence in Edgemont since Evans has become sheriff. Dibble was concerned about the city not being able to get a new contract and how to pay for something different. Dibble also believes that Shaw has made this his personal agenda.
Dibble also felt that they would be hard pressed to get better service. Dibble stated that they had offended the law and county commissioners.
Woodward stated that she had recently spoke with Joe Falkenburg. She felt it was a very nice discussion and she was still under the impression that they would be willing to negotiate.
Evans stated that he was caught off guard after reading the letter. At first, Evans was under the impression that there would be negotiations. After receiving the letter, he felt that the negotiation period was over. Everything was done.
Shaw stated that an attorney had compiled the letter and suggested it be sent. Shaw didn’t feel that he was liable. Piper asked if Shaw signed the letter, to which Shaw replied “yes”. Piper felt that Shaw was liable since his signature was on the letter.
Kluender felt that there should be a letter of apology to the commissioners. Dallas felt that there should be a letter of apology to the citizens for this.
Evelyn West feels that the council has put hours into their jobs for the good of the city.
In other news:
Dustin Dale from AE2S spoke to the council about updates on the water project. Dale said that everything went well with the improvements on well 4. Well 2 is older. It would possibly be better to put in a new well, instead of rebuilding. He wanted the council to approve this change. They did.
Dale also requested approval for advertising for bids for the water system’s projects one, two and three. The first project deals with the filter system. The second project deals with a treatment facility. The third project would deal with the water tower. Council approved this.
Strozewski asked about the camera’s in the park. She wondered what else needed to be done to improve the system and get everything up and running correctly. She also wondered if the company had been contacted yet about some of this stuff. The company had not been contacted and there is more conduit to be laid in certain areas. This is something they would like to get done soon.

Fall River County Herald Star

EDGEMONT OFFICE: 410 2nd Avenue   Edgemont, SD 57735-0660 | 605.662.7201
HOT SPRINGS OFFICE: 334 S. Chicago St.  Hot Springs, SD 57747 | 605.745.3930
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