BRANDON, S.D. (KELO) — The Brandon City Council discussed the possibility of Minnehaha County supplying law enforcement for the city. The council considered the question in front of a full room Monday night, where clear support for the police department was unmistakable.
“We’re growing by leaps and bounds, and now’s not the time to downscale on our police force,” Brandon resident Carol Nelson said. “We need to, if anything, probably up it.”
“My biggest worry, is not having our police officers out there, watching the traffic, watching these kids and making sure that they’re safe,” Brandon resident Angela Riedel said.
The Brandon council member who made the motion on the question at hand clarified his goal.
“This motion is not to get rid of the Brandon Police Department or to defund the police,” council member Tim Jorgenson said. “This motion simply directs the city staff to reach out to Minnehaha County and inquire about police services.”
According to city administrator Bryan Read, two members of the council asked that the question appear on the agenda. In the end, the council rejected it.
“For me, on this topic, I am not in favor,” council vice president Dana Clark said. “I think as a growing community that we need to be looking towards the future, and I do feel that this would be backtracking. I think it would be an irrevocable change.”
“Would it save money? I think it, I think we would probably save a little bit of money,” council member David Kull said. “But there would be a cost associated with it, and it’s a cost I don’t think the citizens of this city necessarily want to face.”
Following the vote, interim police chief Jamie Steffel shared his thoughts. His immediate predecessor Joe Weir recently resigned.
“It’s nice to see the community come out and support the officers and the police department in general,” Steffel said. “Historically, we’ve had a very good working relationship with city administration and council members themselves. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”
Read says that the department employs 13 full-time officers.