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A busy year for BE policemen, firemen

By Staff | Jan 26, 2015

The Blue Earth Fire and Police departments both had very busy years in 2014.

Police chief Tom Fletcher and fire chief Roger Davis each presented their departments’ annual reports at last Monday night’s City Council meeting.

Fletcher reported that local police officers tallied 5,874 incidents during last year. That was an increase of 709 from 2013, he said.

The council wondered why the big spike.

“Some of it has to do with more activity in town,” Fletcher says. “It also involves having some of our newer, younger officers doing more work, being more aggressive.”

The incidents are all broken down both by type and by day of the week.

For instance, there were 148 animal complaints, 93 driving complaints, 51 theft cases, 206 ongoing criminal investigations, 25 narcotics cases, seven missing persons, 48 child abuse cases and 15 trespassing calls.

But, the largest number is just called directed patrol. The second largest number is traffic stops at 620.

The busiest day was Friday, with 1,007 incidents on that particular day of the week, followed closely by Saturday at 1,002.

Tuesdays were the quietest, Fletcher said, with 688 incidents on that day throughout the year.

Fire chief Davis reported 81 calls during the 2014 year.

That was up from 68 in 2013, but down slightly from the previous four years.

Davis called the 81 calls about average. Not all of the calls were for fires, as some were accidents or alarms.

Plus the department responded to 15 calls in Elmore as part or their contract for fire protection to that district.

In addition, the department extended mutual aid to other departments seven times in the year, while receiving mutual aid five times.

Davis reported that the department is down in membership at the moment.

“We had as many as 32 fire fighters a year ago,” he says. “But, now we are down to 29. They range in time of service from 36 years, 6 months down to just two months.” In other business at last Monday’s meeting, the City Council:

Once again debated whether to do the milling and overlay to a portion of Royal Acres. They also debated whether to assess part of the cost of the mill and overlay, should they do it.

The cost of that portion of next summer’s street project would be $216,000 and the council instructed city engineer Wes Brown to figure out the difference in cost, per foot, for milling and overlay versus total street reconstruction.

Debated giving a rebate to two residents who had water mishaps in their homes recently.

In both cases, broken faucets or toilets caused water to run for an extended time. The residents were looking for relief from a large sewer bill from the city for the amount of water that went down the drain.

After some debate about what the policy has been in the past, the council was set to pass a motion to forgive half of the large bills or at least half the amount over a usual monthly bill.

However, the council voted down the motion and then tabled it, because they wanted some further information on past policies.

Also tabled a decision about signing a new three-year contract with the South Central Minnesota Drug Task Force, because no specific dollar amount or cost to belong was attached to the document.

They did agree to sign a new contract for the Blue Earth Airport F.B.O operations at the airport and another contract with the airport manager, Tim Steier.