Resources limit sheriff's ability to curb vandalism in Dells
June 11. 2013 3:48PM
Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead says Dell Rapids is among the best communities around, and if vandalism is the leading criminal problem, local officials should consider themselves fortunate.
Milstead addressed the City Council for about a half hour Monday, June 3 at City Hall. His visit stemmed from increasing reports of vandalism in the City Park and public parking lot downtown.
“This is one of the best community in our county and the state. It’s a great place to live and raise a family,” Milstead said. “This city really is as safe as it is, and we’re sitting here talking about kids hanging out in a parking lot.”
Milstead said the sheriff’s office is willing to work with the City to curb the recent acts of vandalism, but with only one deputy typically patrolling Dell Rapids after the sun goes down, doing so could be a challenge.
“When I have one deputy in town, with 3,600 people, I do not want that deputy spending a lot of time staring at a dozen kids in a parking lot,” he said. “Your citizens deserve much more than that.”
This year, the City of Dell Rapids is paying $250,000 for 160 hours of Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office services each week – two officers patrolling during the day and one during the evening and night hours.
“I don’t know how effective chasing (the kids in the parking lot) away is, because, I can tell you, if I chase them out of one lot, they’re going to go to another,” Milstead said.
At a May meeting, the council discussed asking the sheriff’s office to take up a past practice of checking doors of businesses and “walking the beat.”
“I can remember, eight or 10 years ago, getting calls from deputies saying that my doors were unlocked at the offices at 3 o’clock on the morning,” said Councilor Lee Burggraff. “That doesn’t happen anymore.”
Milstead said checking to make sure doors are locked at night isn’t a priority for his law enforcement agency.
“If we have time to be shaking doors out in the county, then we’re really slow,” he said. “One of the more inefficient uses of law enforcement resources is to go out and shake doors and call people and tell them that they forgot to lock their doors.”
Milstead said the services provided to Dell Rapids by his agency have served Dell Rapids well.
“If you look at other communities, even some your size, and realize how good you have it, the reality of Dell Rapids is it’s a darn safe place to live and raise a family,” he said.
The City Council is in the process of researching costs associated with installing video surveillance in the park and parking lot, and will take up the matter at an upcoming meeting.