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Nevis looks at expanding police coverage

Josh Oswald (3).JPG

The city of Nevis averages around 900 to 930 incident calls a year, according to Hubbard County deputy Josh Oswald, who asked the council to consider adding an additional officer down the road.

“Just to put that in comparison with our neighboring town (Akeley), they average right around 300 to 350 calls,” he said. “A couple of years ago, Nevis Township was the busiest area in the county. And looking at the future, I can honestly see Nevis growing, especially in the summertime. I can see where there’s going to be a time when law enforcement could use some extra help. With weekend activities, I think the safety of the residents should come first.”

Oswald said he would like to attend some budget meetings in the coming year.

One option he asked the council to consider is having him in a supervisory role, with another officer to come in and rotate hours to work nights on the busy weekends.

“We utilize the Hubbard County (Mounted) Posse when we can, but they’re busy, too,” he said.

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Council member Jeanne Thompson asked why Oswald thinks Nevis has such a high call volume compared to Akeley.

“I think, population-wise, a lot more people come to this area in the summertime,” he said. “Houses fill up. We’re more resortish.”

Council member Rich Johnson said Nevis also has more “walkability” between the Iron Horse, the trail, the Muni and the other businesses.

“I think we should pursue it (getting another officer),” Mayor Jarod Senger said. “Our responsibility is the safety of our residents.”

Johnson suggested Oswald “put some numbers” together and bring them to the city budget meeting in July.

Oswald told the council at their Jan. 13 meeting that he received 71 calls in December.

“Traffic’s been busy again,” he said.

In addition to responding to calls, Oswald does both residential and business checks.

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“Words can’t express what you do for this community,” Senger said. “With the role you’ve had in this community and the positive things you’ve done, I think we need to look at the future and getting someone who’s as committed to this community as you are to help you.”

Council member Sue Gray said she appreciates how Oswald takes time to visit with residents over coffee and his presence at the school as well.

“You’re present, you’re involved, you’re active,” Thompson said. “It’s not just a job for you.”

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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