The Clarkfield City Council effectively sealed their agreement with the Yellow Medicine County Sheriff to provide full police service to the city of Clarkfield at their most recent city council meeting Tuesday, June 18.
The council voted to approve a contract with the YMC Sheriff, barring minor changes and clarifications, that will become effective September 1, 2013 and continue through December 31, 2015; locking the city with the YMC Sheriff for two years.
Several months ago after making a side by side comparisons between what the county could offer and what the city could do for themselves, councilman Dave Biermaier made the motion to "Allow the City Administrator to enter into final contract discussions with the county to provide full law enforcement for the city". Councilman Neil Linscheid seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
At that meeting, City Administrator Scott Weske's presentation made the difference between the two options the city realistically considered, stark (a third option would have had the city disbanding their police force and depending on the county for emergency coverage only, but that was gravely warned against and roundly dismissed). For roughly $93,600 the city can contract with the county to provide a dedicated officer and squad car at an average of 40 hours a week to the city of Clarkfield. That cost includes, officer salary, training, fuel, mileage, uniform and equipment. The city will still have to cover attorney fees and office utilities, which is expected to increase the total expense to $113,038. The downside to this, for the city, is obviously the loss of operational control—but Flaten's personable approach to both the council and residents seemed to assuage that fear.
This move, it should be noted, became markedly easier for the city with the resignation of former Clarkfield Police Chief Ian Hodge, who's been hired to the same position in Benson. Hodge's support in the community, probably held off this decision for an incalculable amount of time.
Sheriff Flaten felt confident that he could have a cruiser and officer operating in Clarkfield by August.