Celebrating diversity; combining law enforcement

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Yep, Grannie Annie and I made it to the dia de los los muertos celebration. Perfect day for it there in the neat Norris Alley and Keystone setting. Enjoyed the Mariachi Band and wonderful food; street tacos, enchiladas, tamales and best of all the wonderful assortment of Mexican pastries. The younger set was enjoying the craft-making and face painting.

It was a great thing to celebrate the heritage of a fair-sized portion of our local populace. Immigrants from Mexico have about always been a significant part of the labor force here in our rural farm country. Locally our small farms produced sugar beets and potatoes and it was Mexican laborers that hoed, blocking and thinning, the young beets and picked up potatoes. My dad commented that one thing about Mexicans is that they will work! Additionally, they shucked corn, shocked wheat, corn and forage sorghum all hard labor on hot summer days. Now those jobs have mainly gone mechanical and we find those with Hispanic blood milking 24/7 at our two large dairies and working in about every other job in this community. Good people.

I find it interesting to remember the start-up of McCook’s fall festival. It was Lester Harsh who first put it together best I remember in the 1970s. It was then called “German Heritage Days”. Lester’s forebearers had emigrated to America from Russia but were proudly ethnic Germans. Food trucks at Norris Park were not invented yet so several churches put together large dinners for the public. Typically the main menu at our Methodist Church was mashed potatoes covered with kraut and brats along with salads and of course, a variety of deserts with homemade pie featured. Another menu included Runzas, back when we could still use that term.

I’ll be happy when this election season is over next week! Every day my email is filled with “opportunities” to donate to candidates all over the country most of which I couldn’t vote for anyway. Then there are all too many polls asking how I would vote on the issues, none of which I deign to answer. The local candidate contests are interesting and I look them over carefully. Honestly, in my assessment, it is hard to vote for those who I don’t judge as fiscally conservative—as in spending too much. Vote responsibly.

On my last column I had several objectors post on the online version of the Gazette. Of course, there they can complain anonymously but most seemed to envision that when combined the sheriff would be patrolling the whole county and city of McCook with only two or three deputies. My proposal was to absorb the entire McCook police force into the Sheriff’s department so there would actually be little change in the protection provided.

Looking at this year’s budget the entire McCook Police budget is published at $2,288,577 with 14 full-time officers. By combining there would be no need to retain the police chief as the sheriff would assume that position so a savings of at least $70,000 (I couldn’t find the chief’s salary) would happen. Now the county Sheriff’s department pays the McCook department some $71481 for dispatch services, a fee that would be eliminated with the combination of the departments.

My understanding is that the Police Chief (whom I’ve never met) is a civil servant with all those political rules while the Sheriff is elected with the approval of the voters. Then too last I knew the whole police department is represented by a union and in my opinion a union is completely inappropriate in any public service work body whether it is government involved or teachers. Just my thinking from long observation.

Now is the time to make the move as our new Sheriff knows the McCook Police Department well having served there for many years. Cost savings with no degradation of police protection — what is there not to like?

That is the way I saw it.

Dick Trail

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  • Excuse me for assuming that when you wrote “dissolve the police force and have the sheriff’s department do the entire law enforcement duties city and county wide,” then followed it up with a list of smaller towns with no police force, i didn’t understand that you were talking about combining the departments.

    A lot of writers would have just said that in the first place. Thank you for the explanation this week.

    Frank Hassler, Omaha, Neb.

    -- Posted by fmh on Tue, Nov 1, 2022, at 10:09 AM
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