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Sheriff's department is flush with well-trained officers

Hubbard County has a wealth of licensed peace officers willing to step into part-time road deputy jobs to get a foot in the door of more permanent work.

In a major shuffling of Sheriff's Department personnel, Sheriff Frank Homer told the county board Wednesday he has six to eight licensed peace officers internally working as jailers and dispatchers that have been applying for jobs in his department.

He feels the jail and dispatching experience has given new deputies more maturity and training when they are hired for road duty.

"I've often said deputies should learn their job working in dispatch/jail," said commissioner Cal Johannsen, a former deputy.

"It's really hard to put them in a car and turn them loose," said commissioner Dick Devine, a former State Patrol officer. "It's too dangerous. It's a tough job to learn. You can make a mistake pretty easily."

Homer said working with inmates in the jail and with the public under the stressful circumstances 911 officers work in, is valuable training for road deputies.

He remembers days when he was sent out in a squad car with the farewell: "Call me if you need anything."

Each job opening at his department has been filled internally. "They're willing to stay part-time for a few years until an opening comes," he said of the pool of applicants.

Here are the recent promotions:

n Shane Plautz , a former part-time deputy, is now a full-time road deputy.

n Jarod Andersen is now the ATV deputy. "We will implement snowmobile patrols if we have snow," Homer told the board.

n Adam Williams will become the department's transport officer.

Vulcan, the department's new K-9 dog, will get a new bulletproof vest thanks to an anonymous $800 donation and contributions from two recent events.

His new vest will also protect him from sharp objects such as knives and screwdrivers, which Homer says pose more of a threat to K-9 dogs than other weapons.

The department has an older vest, but sweat causes the fiber to break down over time. That happens with human bullet-proof vests, too.

'They only recommend they're good for five years," Johannsen said.

In other county board action, the commission:

-Heard and gave tentative approval to a new Subsurface Sewage Treatment System Ordinance at the public hearing scheduled. Several plumbing contractors came to support the news laws. The ordinance must be reviewed by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.

Because the new ordinance mandates a three-foot vertical separation between the bottom soil infiltrative surface and the periodically saturated soil or bedrock, the county's shoreland ordinance will be revised so the two comply. The shoreland ordinance mandates a four-foot vertical separation. A public hearing has been set for Sept. 16 at 12:30 p.m. to consider that amendment.

-Paid Ryan Leckner $161,000 for a parcel of land adjacent to the South Transfer Station on Henrietta Avenue that will be used as a buffer zone to future development in the area. The county plans to plant trees and possibly start a community garden.

-Approved the purchase of calcium chloride for gravel roads for $114,826.58. Spreading the salt mixture on the roads has meant less maintenance work for county crews.

-Reported various county offices made nearly $6,000 at a recent auction of county property.