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Police To Increase Presence at Rockport

By Staff | Oct 3, 2017

The Emmetsburg City Council met on Monday, Sept. 25 for a regularly scheduled meeting. During the Report of Officers section of the meeting, Police Chief Eric Hanson reported that the Emmetsburg Police Department has received an increase in calls regarding persons driving their vehicles on the Five Island Trail.

“We’ve been, over the last few days, probably over the past week and a half, we’ve been trying to work with the residents out at Rockport,” Chief Hanson explained. “Obviously we’re getting calls about abuse of the trail- the walking trail, by vehicles-that there are vehicles using that trail extensively and almost entirely at times. So we’ve been answering every complaint that’s been called in.”

Due to the road construction on N-40 Rockport residents have been asked to take alternative routes into Emmetsburg. The Five Island Trail is not one of the suggested routes. The cement that makes up the trail is not made to withstand the weight of a vehicle.

“I’ve met in person with Dan Cooper [an Emmetsburg resident and business owner] and we spent some time together this afternoon [],” Hanson continued. “Dan called in a few times over the weekend because he was seeing things that he didn’t believe should be happening. So we’re trying to get officers and patrol vehicles out there as much as we can whether it’s just a drive through or to try to get somebody to sit out there and try to monitor the area. If we see anything, obviously, that looks to be against common sense, I’m not sure quite what some of our legalities are. If they see something that appears to be unreasonable, that contacts are made.”

As road construction on N-40 progresses, Hanson claimed that the issue is getting better. The City had also installed road barricades to help alleviate some of the vehicular issues on the trail.

“We have people pushing those aside and still feeling like they want to drive and travel where they wish or think they should,” Hanson stated.

“Pushing them aside with their vehicles,” City Administrator John Bird clarified. “You can’t push them around by hand. In fact they damaged one of them.”

“They scratched a part of it,” Public Properties Director Frank Kliegl agreed.

“I just wanted the Council to know as far as that the police department will do everything we can to get officers out there more and to try to help monitor what they’re experiencing,” Hanson concluded.

“Where’s out timeline on that as far as paving?” asked Councilman Bill Burdick.

“Well late last week the County was told that they were going to start paving on Wednesday this week [Sept. 27],” Bird replied.

“They’re driving on the trail behind Rockport all the way to the road, is that what they’re doing?” Burdick questioned.

“Well according to Dan [Cooper], the people that live north now are coming through Rockport and then jumping on the trail down to the railroad and then getting up on the road. So it isn’t just the Rockport people doing it necessarily- that’s the route they’re bringing to town,” Bird responded.

No action was taken by the Emmetsburg City Council at this time, but there will be an increased police presence by Rockport.