ENM has its questions, now needs answers

Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

The Elko New Market City Council created a list of questions concerning its police department at its Thursday, March 12, workshop, but the answers are still some time away.

The council has been discussing the possibility of discontinuing its police department and contracting for law enforcement services with the Scott County Sheriff's Office. The move is one that Council member Bob Hanna has proposed as a cost-saving measure.

About 50 residents attended the workshop where the council came up with several questions. The questions covered about a dozen different topics that the council wanted answers on. Among the topics were scheduling, programs, liability, facilities, personnel management, cost analysis, communication, transition and public involvement.

The council discussed looking at cities that have long term contracts with county sheriff's offices, what would Elko New Market need for facilities if it kept its police department, and improving communication between the police and residents. That included visiting with residents, business owners and students at Eagle View Elementary School. Also brought up was how this would affect New Market Township.

City Administrator Tom Terry noted the next step was how to proceed. He explained getting the answers wasn't something city staff could have done in a month.

Terry and Assistant City Administrator Mark Nagel explained they could prepare a summary of the scope of the project. The summary would be back to the council by its next meeting. While it was still too early to say how long the process would take, they hoped to have a better idea of the time frame at the next meeting.

During the public comment period of the meeting, five residents spoke.

Carolyn Miller, a former council member, asked why the council was cutting the police department's coverage of the city to 80 hours.

Mayor Jason Ponsonby explained the minimum the city was striving for was 80 hours, which would help with efficiency.

Hanna noted the city would see coverage by both the police and sheriff's office.

Toni Maat, owner of Windmill Feed & Pet Supply, noted there would be significant costs in finding the answers for the questions discussed.

Ken Sulich didn't see how the city was going to save money. He also asked why the city was spending resources when it already had a police department.

Tim Trainer noted that in a letter of resignation from Officer James R. Kiecksee in 2004, he cited an unofficial policy of racial profiling during his training. Trainer asked if the person who did the training was still with the police force.

Police Chief Rick Jensen said he was and the officer had been investigated by an outside group and exonerated.

Resident John Egan said he had had good experiences with the police and wanted the city to keep the department.

Suel Printing Company

Copyright © Suel Printing Company
All Rights Reserved
200 Main St E
New Prague, MN 56071

Phone: 952-758-4435
Fax: 952-758-4135

Latest articles

Please Login for Premium Content