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Devils Lake law enforcement center offers raises to fight turnover

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DEVILS LAKE — Fearing the resignation of the director of the 911 center here, officials have agreed to give her and her dispatchers a raise.

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The Lake Region Law Enforcement Center board of directors also agreed to give a raise to the director and staff of a re-entry center that helps former convicts re-enter society. This follows earlier raises offered to correctional staff.

“This is a very important thing for us at this time, with the state booming as it is,” said Peggy Hoel, LEC finance administrator. “Just trying to get up to speed, as to just what would be the most appropriate wages are for our folks here. We want to make sure they get a living wage.”

The raises given to 911 center director Starr Klemetsrud on Wednesday amounted to a 9.6 percent pay increase to $50,000 a year. The starting pay for her dispatchers increased 3.6 percent to $28,040.

The LEC is conducting a compensation study that could lead to adjustments to those numbers, according to Hoel.

Devils Lake already suffers from a shortage of workers and, in the past several months, the LEC has seen a lot of staff turnover. Among other things, that forced the facility to stop housing juveniles.

The order to do so came from the state Department of Corrections, which cited the LEC for violations of state regulations that resulted from staffing issues.

The Lake Region correctional facility has hired replacements for the guards who have left, although several of them still lack required training, according to Administrator Denny Deegan.

However, she said, the LEC may have to hire another four correctional officers to reach the staffing levels necessary to reopen the facility’s juvenile detention center.

The board earlier decided to work toward reopening the facility by 2016.

Since the juvenile facility closed, juveniles have been transported to the Grand Forks County Juvenile Detention Center.

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Kevin Bonham
Kevin Bonham covers regional news, mostly from northeast North Dakota, for the Grand Forks Herald. A North Dakota native who grew up in Mandan and Dickinson, he has been a reporter or an editor with the Herald and Forum Communications for more than 30 years. Find his articles at: www.grandforksherald.com. He welcomes story ideas via email, kbonham@gfherald.com, or by phone, (701) 780-1110.  
(701) 780-1110
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