New sheriff gives first report
Pierce County Sheriff Josh Siegler made his first report as sheriff to the board of commissioners at January’s regular meeting Tuesday.
Siegler listed equipment and dispatcher benefits as top concerns to start his four-year term. Siegler succeeds Matt Lunde.
Siegler said he would like body cams for his two deputies and himself. The cameras would cost about $400 each.
The department’s three SUVs were also discussed and Siegler requested the commissioners consider the resale value of the vehicles in order to get the best deals.
Siegler said he is working on a dispatcher work schedule to present at the next meeting. Dispatchers expressed frustration at the previous two commissioner meetings because of pro-rating of benefits. Dispatchers work 12-hour shifts and Siegler said he is attempting to find a way to get each full-time employee at 40 hours to ensure full-time benefits.
District 5 Commissioner Dave Migler expressed concern about Facebook use following previous comments from a dispatcher about the public safety advantages of the social media site. Siegler said he doesn’t foresee Facebook use being an issue.
Siegler said he has started reaching out to McHenry and Bottineau Counties about forming a drug task force. Cross-deputizing would be a part of the process, but Siegler emphasized that the idea is barely in its infancy.
“I definitely think there’s a need for it,” Siegler said. “There’s a lot more meth. We’re hearing heroin is becoming an epidemic in the western part of the state. I think (the task force) would really benefit this county and area as a whole.”
Chairman Duane Johnston (District 4) voiced support for the idea.
Jail administrator Mike Graner delivered his monthly report from Heart of America Correctional and Treatment Center.
Graner reported a November profit of nearly $52,000 and plans to have a comprehensive 2014 report with demographics for the February meeting.
Graner said through November the 2014 revenue had already surpassed 2013 revenue totals.
Graner said the 2014 theme of complying with the state’s security audit has switched to a 2015 theme of making HACTC an even better training environment.
The non-compliance order is set to end in February and Graner plans to invite Steve Engen, of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, to share his findings with the commissioners.
Graner said two good interviews were conducted on Jan. 2 for a correctional officer vacancy.
Graner is in favor of joining the Rugby Area Chamber of Commerce to grow HACTC’s involvement and presence in the community. He will request chamber director Shelley Block’s presence at the next meeting to further explain benefits of HACTC being a chamber member.
The board also met with tax director Kelsey Siegler, 9-1-1 coordinator Carrie Vallier and Wold Engineering’s Jessica Wold.
The board approved minutes from December meetings, bills and financial statements, the treasurer’s check ($5,252.12), pledge of assets and an amended budget.
The board approved reappointments of Dr. Jeff Vaagen and Ken Reed as county coroner and deputy coroner, respectively.
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