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Several Reasons We Need An Additional Deputy

January 18, 2018
by Anesa McGregor , Emmetsburg News

At the risk of making anyone mad, I wish to visit the issue of an additional deputy for the sheriff's department. With crime on the rise in our county and the severity of those crimes getting worse and worse, an additional deputy can make a difference between life and death.

I realize many in the county are hesitant to approve the hiring of an additional full-time deputy. Comments that I have heard are that outside sources need to be utilized more efficiently, but how long can our County depend on outside sources to fill in the gaps before it goes away? I've also heard that it is felt West Bend should get rid of their local police department and depend on the County for law enforcement; however, response times can become an issue.

I was a firefighter and an EMT on my local department for 23 years and I also have a degree in Criminal Justice. I have seen a variety of issues in the form of medical and accidents, suicides and other calls that require the assistance of law enforcement. I have also been on the end of calling for help when I needed it.

The thing I can tell you is that when you have to wait for law enforcement it can seem like an eternity. When there were eight full-time deputies plus the sheriff, yes there was a wait and yes to some minutes seem like hours, but the response time was short and action was quick. As it is today with seven deputies plus the sheriff, the response time can be two, three, four times or longer now than it used to be This is not the fault of the Sheriff's Department.

Our county is 576 square miles and as the crow flies corner to corner it is 24 miles, but we all know that getting from one corner to the opposite corner is not that simple. If a person simply looks at 576 square miles, it doesn't seem like a lot; however, if a deputy is the only one on duty and near West Bend, that deputy would have to drive approximately 38 miles which at normal speed would take about 45 minutes, just to get to Graettinger or Ruthven. Another analogy would be if a deputy was in the far northeast corner of the county and was needed in the far southwest corner of the county. At normal speeds, this would take approximately one hour to drive the 60miles. We all know that in an emergency, law enforcement drives faster that the speed limit but one must consider weather and road conditions, traffic and other possible scenarios.

As I have said, I have been on the end waiting for law enforcement to arrive when there has been one deputy on duty. A person gets a sinking feeling in their stomach and if it is a medical emergency there is a feeling of impending doom as you wait and wait for what can seem like an eternity. You may ask why, in a medical emergency, is it important to have a deputy on scene. There are many reasons starting with beginning treatment prior to the arrival of an ambulance to traffic control to assists in lifting.

Imagine being on the receiving end of someone threatening your life or shooting at you and having to wait even 20 minutes for help to arrive? There is not one person living in Palo Alto County willing put their own life in danger waiting for law enforcement and yet that is what is being asked of us all.

Ask yourself, if it was your parent, child, sibling, friend or a total stranger, would you be willing to risk their lives because there is only one deputy sheriff on duty 41 percent of the time? If you are being truly honest, the answer is "NO," hiring an additional deputy is not a waste of our county dollars.

So whether you are for or against adding an additional deputy, it is important that you let your voice be heard by contacting your district Supervisor. Let's protect the most valuable resource Palo Alto County has to offer that being its residents and those traveling through the county.

 
 
 

 

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