Public schools request full-time police officer

Sometimes you do know what you've got before it's gone and even have an opportunity to ask to keep it. At a public hearing for the 2007 budget during Monday's regular Dickinson City Commission meeting, two principals asked to continue to have a p...

Sometimes you do know what you've got before it's gone and even have an opportunity to ask to keep it.

At a public hearing for the 2007 budget during Monday's regular Dickinson City Commission meeting, two principals asked to continue to have a police officer on their grounds full time.

Dickinson Police Department Lt. Dave Wallace spent much of the past spring semester at either Dickinson High School or Hagen Junior High, but it wasn't a full-time position.

"I just wanted to let you know how beneficial (Wallace) has been to the high school and also to the junior high," DHS principal Ron Dockter said.

He said Wallace helps with prevention and also education.


The proposed 2007 budget does not include funds available for making the position full time.

Hagen principal Perry Braunagel also spoke in favor of Wallace's presence in the school full time.

"Officer Wallace did a number of things with presentations in the classroom," Braunagel said. "He is also a resource available to us in a deterrent kind of capacity."

Although the city's 2007 budget does not call for a full-time position, Dickinson Police Chief Chuck Rummel said little would change during this school year with regard to Wallace.

"We will continue with what we have with Lt. Wallace working with the schools," Rummel said. "The school saw the benefits as you heard of a full-time resource officer and that's eventually where we'd like to go."

Rummel said Wallace currently works in schools and with all the public service programs, which had been put on the back burner during the school year. Even if more time is not dedicated yet, Rummel also sees benefits to a full-time school resource officer.

"What we found pretty interesting was there was a lot of proactive things he was able to do, which is he was able to offset further action down the road for escalation of an incident," Rummel said.

City Administrator Greg Sund explained the current proposal from the public schools with regard to financial support for the position.


"Their proposal for a school resource officer is $25,000 in the first year and declining over a five-year period until the city picks up the entire amount," Sund said.

He added $25,000 is about half the salary for a full-time school resource officer.

Mayor Dennis Johnson proposed the city continue to work on negotiations with the public school district.

Both the principals agreed the schools have a great working relationship with the police department and the city.

"I want to personally thank Chief Rummel and the police department," Dockter said. "We have a great working relationship with them. It's just a very cooperative thing and today was no exception."

The city made no changes to the budget during Monday's meeting, other than to add in general capital leases that were left out of the list of debt service funds. The added expense is funded out of the general fund. During the next regular city commission meeting Monday, Oct. 2, the commissioners vote to adopt the finalized 2007 budget.

In an unrelated city matter, the city agreed 4-1 to sign a cemetery excavation contract with a new company.

For the past two years, the contract was held by Richard Roszkowski and his company Itty Bitty Backhoe. He was outbid by Lane Lowman's V/K Backhoe Service by $5,790.


"I did check references on Mr. Lowman with one of our local funeral directors and a funeral director in Beach; they had very high regard for him," said public works manager for cemeteries Skip Rapp. "My only concern with Mr. Lowman holding the contract is the distance of travel. It's a 50 mile drive each way."

Rapp said since Lowman has relatives in Dickinson, the commute would be less of a problem. City attorney Tim Priebe also said if Lowman violated the terms of the contract, he would face harsh penalties and possibly a termination of the contract.

Commissioner Carson Steiner, who was the lone dissenter, said the difference in bid price was not enough to warrant a change.

"A reasonable amount to change, in my mind, is at least 10 percent," Steiner said. "We're probably at 5 percent instead of 10 percent. I think 10 percent is, if not a rule, then a rule of thumb municipalities use across the state."

Lowman's contract takes effect Oct. 1 and is for a period of two years. Rapp also said he would send a letter of appreciation and thanks to Roszkowski for his services during the past two years.

In an unrelated matter, Rapp also reported on the remodeling of the Baker Building to make it accessible for both Dakota Cab and Elder Care.

Rapp initially quoted the costs to the commissioners to be about $15,000. The total so far is more than $16,000 with two more bills coming.

Rapp said the biggest costs have been to make the building handicap accessible and installing commercial grade carpet for the increased amount of foot traffic to the building.

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