Motley Police chief receives approval to take squad home

Two agenda items pertaining to the Motley Police Department that had previously been put on hold were approved by the city council at their regular meeting May 9.

The first was to allow Police Chief Ron Smith to take home the department’s second squad car (a Ford Crown Victoria), which he had first requested doing this past March. This was approved for a four-month trial basis. 

Chief Smith had previously explained to the council that he lives 12 miles from city hall; and when he receives an emergency call at home, he must first drive to city hall and pick up the squad vehicle before responding.

At the May 9 meeting, Smith said that he had recently received a call regarding an attempted  suicide. Because he was in his personal car at the time of the call, the Staples Police Department was at the scene before him.

Council member Amy Hutchison said she had spoken with several members of the public about this matter and that the response has been split 50/50. “Some are for it and some are not,” she said. Hutchison’s reservations about the matter in the past had been mainly because of financial reasons.

Council member Al Yoder wondered if it was something that could be tried for a few months and see how it goes. He suggested Chief Smith keep track of the use of the second squad, including dates, times and miles.

After some discussion, the council voted in favor of him taking the second squad vehicle home for a four-month trial period.

The second police department matter approved by the council was to order WEX Fleet Cards for the two squad vehicles, based on having a policy in place by the next council meeting. 

Prior to the vote, Smith explained that the credit card would stay with the vehicle, not with an individual officer. The cards would allow an officer to fill up the vehicle from any location. 

Chief Smith indicated that he would have a policy put in place which limits the use of the cards to fuel and other items necessary to safe operation and maintenance of the police vehicles. There will be no use of the cards for purchasing items for personal consumption.

In other matters the council:

o HEARD from Police Chief Smith that he recently attended the MN Chiefs of Police Association conference in St. Cloud. He said it was very good and that he gained insight on trending topics in law enforcement and developing community relations.

o LEARNED that the kick off for the city’s new skate park will be held Saturday, June 4, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. A number of events are planned that day, including safety demonstrations. Bruce Brotherton, public works supervisor, said that Ted & Gen’s BBQ in Aldrich has indicated they might be willing to provide pulled pork and other food items; and staff at Camp Shamineau has also expressed an interest in offering safety tips. The skate park is located on the west side of Converse Park in Motley. 

o APPROVED using funds (not to exceed $1,000) from the 10-percent pull-tab monies to go toward the skate park kick-off.

o ACCEPTED a donation of $135 from five Motley businesses to be used to purchase prizes for the skate park kick-off.  The businesses included Motley Discount Liquor, Bremer’s Bar, BRICKS Travel Plaza, Bjerga Feed Store, H&R Ten Hi.

o HEARD from Brotherton regarding a proposal from Bolton & Menk, Inc., for professional engineering services to assist the city with potential paving of segments of Cimarron Drive, Postel Drive and Lil Street, all located in the southeastern part of Motley.

Brotherton said the proposed project would affect approximately 14 properties which would be assessed.

Mayor Nancy Nieken said she has heard mixed feelings about this project, but she thought the city should proceed with the feasibility study.

o APPROVED proceeding with Task One of the street paving project mentioned above. The preliminary feasibility study (as proposed by Bolton & Menk) will cost $2,750. It includes a site review and a preliminary engineering feasibility report with cost and assessment estimates for city review and use in conducting an improvement public hearing to obtain public input regarding the proposed paving project. Bolton & Menk will facilitate the improvement public hearing.

o APPROVED liquor license renewals for Motley Discount Liquor, Bremer’s Bar, Inc. and H&R Ten Hi, Inc.

o APPROVED having City Clerk/Treasurer conduct transfers totaling $283,106.69, plus any interest earned since the last statement, from Unity Bank Checking to First International Bank and Trust Checking. Prior to the vote it was noted that the Unity Bank Checking account is not currently used for daily/monthly financial transactions; and with lack of activity within one year would default to a dormant status which would result in the city’s being charged a monthly fee.

o HEARD concerns from city resident Robert Jenkins during the  public forum regarding the issue of sound problems during council meetings. Jenkins said he is often not able to hear the discussion at these meetings and suggested the city look into installing a sound system. Yoder said he thought this was a good idea and that perhaps they could investigate a system that also provides a way to record meetings.

o SET next regular council meeting for Monday, June 13, 6:30 p.m.

Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100
Staples, MN 56479
Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570
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