County commissioners clarify issues with sheriff's department

The Haakon County Board of Commissioners discussed three issues with Sheriff Larry Hanes, Deputy Tom Jeans and States Attorney Ralph Kemnitz at their April 3, 2007 meeting.

The issues emerged at the March 2007 commissioners meeting and included roaming charges on his cell phone in the amount of $236, the increase in mileage and gas used by the department and the status of the 911 signs.

Hanes noted the roaming charges were incurred when he traveled to Texas to help his son move. The two day trip stretched to six days and he used the phone to stay in touch with Philip.

Hanes noted he is on call 24 hours a day regardless of where he is located. He stated that he paid back half of the amount last month and will pay the remaining balance this month. He assured the commissioners that personal use of the phone would not happen again.

He stated that the amount of mileage has not increased all that much from the previous year. Commissioner Neal Brunskill questioned Hanes as to why his department was patroling the state highways and city streets. Hanes stated that the highways and the city are in his jurisdiction just as is the rest of the county. Brunskill stated he believed that the duplication of services has added to the increase in mileage and gas.

Hanes noted that part of the role of his department is to prevent accidents from occurring. By being visible, through patroling and parking along the highways, drivers slow down, said Kemnitz. Hanes added people are more apt to make complete stops and use other proper procedures when law enforcement is visible.

Kemnitz said the sheriff's department "walks a delicate line" in how much to be involved and visible to the public.

In regards to the signs, Hanes said he had not gone any further because he believed, based on their last discussion, that the board did not want him to proceed any further with their installation.

The commissioners accepted bids from Huron Tank and Culverts for metal culverts and Cretex for concrete culverts. They were the only bidders in each of the categories.

Kemnitz discussed the procedure the board should follow in regards to residents requesting roads to their homes. He noted that the applicants can be given a copy of what procedure to follow in applying for a road. After that, the commissioners can decide each case on an individual basis.

The board approved for the advertising of two highway department positions.

They also approved plats for Darrel Terkildsen, a new home site, and West River/Lyman Jones, a storage system north of Philip.