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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
  • Clarkfield, YMC Sheriff off to good start

  • Yellow Medicine County Sheriff Bill Flatten and new deputy of Clarkfield Mike Jenson met with the Clarkfield City Council to discuss the first few months of working as the police presence after a shift in early September.
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  • Yellow Medicine County Sheriff Bill Flatten and new deputy of Clarkfield Mike Jenson met with the Clarkfield City Council to discuss the first few months of working as the police presence after a shift in early September.
    “It has been a good start,” Flatten said, adding that they were still trying to figure out the best way to process and share information with the council without crossing legal data boundaries.
    Mike Jenson, a native of the Clara City area, had been working at the county jail for a year and a half before starting part time employment at Granite Falls in May where he discovered and applied for the opening in Clarkfield.
    “He was a very qualified candidate, and that is why he is sitting with us tonight,” Flatten said.
    However, one problem has arisen with the transition, although not a typical bureaucratic matter.
    “We are stuck on dogs,” Flatten said. “We have to figure out where they belong or who they belong to, which is the hard part, whether that be a new home or not.”
    Despite the canine snag, the shift comes with several bonuses, like having the same key locks as the Sheriff’s office, so state troopers, game wardens and other deputies are able to use the building in Clarkfield if they ever require it.
    Also, troopers are present in Clarkfield outside of Jenson’s 40 hour shift, including calls made on weekends.
    The council once again met with the fire department to figure out a plan for not only a way to finance new equipment, but to make sure they didn’t have to revisit the same issue every few years.
    “We can’t keep falling behind,” City Administrator Scott Weske said.
    Fire Chief Francis Staab presented research that he had done on other fire districts in the area to discover what they charged to their constituents. Staab found that Clarkfield was essentially in the middle of the pack for what they charge, but discovered what he and some council members found to be a better system. Montevideo and Canby charge their fire districts by tying it to evaluation, a system proposed by the League of Cities.
    “This seems to be the most equitable approach,” Council member Neil Linscheid said. “Can we get people to agree that we will be working together for an ‘X’ amount of years? If not, it will get that much harder.”
    The council agreed not to move forward with any plan until they had time to present and meet with their fire districts and township boards.
    “I don’t want to do this without [the townships],” Mayor Gene Kockelman said. “They have a right to be apart of this.”
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