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Morristown Police Coverage Discussed on AM Minnesota

Some Morristown residents are circulating a petition they plan on presenting to the Rice County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday concerning police coverage in their community.

During their April 10 meeting, the Morristown City Council voted 3-2 to contract with the Rice County Sheriff’s Office for their law enforcement.

Some Morristown citizens say the council did not vote the way a majority of the residents felt in the matter and KDHL was told by one of the petition organizers they have about 180 signatures thus far. They hope commissioners will decide the county should not enter into the agreement.

Morristown’s Police Chief Dave Osborne is retiring, which prompted the council to approach the sheriff and request a bid for the service.

Sheriff Troy Dunn will be one of the guests on Thursday’s AM MInnesota program and he says he believes there has been some misinformation about the proposal.

He wants to emphasize the two-year contract calls for a Rice County sheriff’s deputy to provide 60 hours of service a week in the city of Morristown.

The only other guest to confirm an appearance on the show is Morristown Councilor Lisa Karsten. A representative of the circulating petition may also be on the program.

The sheriff provided Morristown with three contract options for coverage.

  • 40 hours a week at a cost of $79,205
  • 50 hours a week at a cost of $102,000
  • 60 hours a week at a cost of $125,054

The contract calls for a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of 3 percent per year and includes a $20,000 allowance for the Morristown police car. Dunn told KDHL the car would be replaced.

According to Morristown City Council meeting minutes from the March 20 meeting, the 2017 Morristown police budget is $144,400.

Morristown City Council members Scott Allen and Seth Prescher voted in opposition to the contract and were asked by KDHL to be on AM Minnesota.

Allen told me he spoke with Prescher and they decided the vote had been taken and they would live with the results.

According to minutes from the Morristown Council meeting earlier this month, Mayor Kurt Wolf made the motion to enter into a two-year contract for 60 hours a week of coverage by the Rice County Sheriff’s Department. The motion was seconded by Karsten, and Kathy Wolf also voted in favor of the change.

As long as anyone can remember Morristown has had their own police department, and city minutes from March 20 indicate their current department budget calls for 72 hours of coverage.

Dunn emphasized in a conversation with me earlier this week that when he says the contract calls for 60 hours of coverage a week that’s exactly what it means – 60 hours of work within the city of Morristown.

The Rice County sheriff added when a deputy is sick or on vacation then a different deputy will be assigned there.

Morristown Police Badge- from City website
Morristown Police Badge- from City website

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