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Supervisors Asked To Consider An Additional County Deputy

January 11, 2018
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

Palo Alto County Sheriff Lynn Schultes presented statistics showing why he felt it necessary to approach the Palo Alto County Board of Supervisors requesting an additional deputy during their meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 9.

"I want to recap just one thing," Schultes said. "I added 20 incidents and included transports to other counties for the purpose of housing inmates to the Deputy Transport. Those counties include Kossuth, Emmet, and Clay."

"What constitutes as an incident?" Supervisor Roger Faulstick asked.

"An incident is something specific by the State that requires a report," Schultes explained. "It's typically your more major investigations."

"The thing I want to impress upon everybody is that we have been at eight in the sheriff's office since 1998 when Graettinger signed on," Schultes continued. "So we have been maintaining eight deputies since then. In the statistics, I just went back to 2010 and just calls for service, we have an increase of 16.40% since 2010."

The following statistics are since 2010: Incidents - an increase of 70.5%, Arrests - an increase of 86.6% Citations - an increase of 138% with over half being issued as warnings, Civil - an increase of 1.3%, Jail an increase of 21.5%, Jail Days an increase of 57.4%, Communication Calls an increase of 70.5%, Deputy Transports an increase of 526% and Emergency Committals an increase of 84.7%.

"In conversations that I have had with the Board, I feel that we have done and have been doing everything, everything you guys have suggested and we've been doing it for years," Schultes stated. "You guys have suggested utilizing reserves. We utilize our reserves a lot. You suggest we utilize part time deputies. I do have part time deputies and we do utilize them when we need them if they are available. They have full time jobs so we can't get them as often as we would like.

"It's been suggested that we utilize the State Patrol. Dean [Gunderson] can attest that we do use the State Patrol. We had one of our many manhunts in his neck of the woods this past summer. We do use the DCI [Department of Criminal Investigations]. At our second attempted murder south of town, we had a DCI agent with us during the first 24-hour period and they are still working with us. We also utilize Clay, Emmet, Dickinson, Kossuth, Pocahontas, and Humboldt counties during emergencies. But yet we need to utilize them more. I don't know how much more we can utilize them folks because they are all required and responsible for their own jurisdictions."

Schultes went on to say, "We have reserves, our volunteers. We used them for 989 hours last year and for the Board that is not enough. It seems as if we are requesting our volunteers to volunteer more. How many other county agencies or offices can say that they have volunteers that worked nearly 1,000 hours last year? Have anyone ever asked other agencies to seek out volunteers?

"It's not enough! We have all of these things but still we need more. We have the support from the State. We have the support from other counties. Has there been a request by Secondary Roads for Emmet County to take care of some of our roads or for the State to take care of roads on either side of the state highways; probably not because it doesn't make sense. Just like it doesn't make any sense for us to rely on other counties to do our job."

"I feel we have done everything we can and I would not be here if it was not important," Schultes stated.

Schultes then presented letters of support, from county residents, mayors and other communities, of an additional deputy.

"Are they going to contribute?" Faulstick questioned.

Schultes stated that he has been talking with some of the communities regarding funding but the process was in the beginning stage.

"I think we need to talk with the City of Emmetsburg and have a 28E Agreement for the City police to be able to help in the rural area of the county if the deputy's are busy," Supervisor Chairman Ron Graettinger stated. "I did talk with them and they thought we could work something out."

"We have an agreement that if we are out of position, Emmetsburg already helps us and West Bend does also," Schultes commented.

Questions regarding vehicles were raised with nine squad cars being owned by the County; however, fuel consumption would go up.

"It is getting to the point where I feel we cannot honor our 28E Agreements. I will not risk getting sued," Schultes stated. "I may be forced to send out letters cancelling our 28E Agreements with communities."

Currently, West Bend relies on the County to cover calls when they do not have a police officer on duty and they will cover for the sheriff's department in that area. It may come to the point where the County can no longer do this. With the rise in calls and the increased severity they may have to tell West Bend that they cannot rely on County to help cover when an officer is not on duty and they will have to do something different.

"Maybe that's what we need then," Graettinger said. "I think they are the one that should go County and then we can put one more deputy on. It would be a lot easier if they would just go County wide."

"I visited with them and they do not want to lose their police department," Schultes noted.

Well, I don't know. To add another deputy in this county is a lot of money for us," Graettinger said. "If they would do it, it would make it so much simpler for everyone. I can see a lot more bang if we would put a deputy on instead of them and we could cover all the county. Until we have that done, I have a hard time doing anything."

"In this county churches are closing, schools are going to close and businesses are closing. The County is shrinking," Dan Opheim resident said. "Do we need more deputies? No. If they wouldn't spend all their time northeast of town patrolling gravel roads they would have time to be everywhere else."

With some further discussion, the Board directed Schultes to put together a budget that would include an extra deputy and they will discuss the issue further in two weeks.



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