WP and Donnellson to explore sharing police

April 13, 2017

WEST POINT — The West Point City Council has decided to move forward in assisting the City of Donnellson with that city’s police situation.

During the West Point City Council meeting Monday night, the council voted to begin talks to allow the West Point Chief of Police Brad Roberts to take the Donnellson police reserves under his wing so that Donnellson would not have to try to locate and hire a new police chief.

The Monday night vote stemmed from talks at the Donnellson City Council meeting the previous Monday. It was suggested then that instead of hiring a new police chief, Donnellson could form a 28E agreement with West Point allowing West Point’s chief to supervise the reserve officers in Donnellson.

West Point Mayor Paul Walker and City Administrator Gary Menke were at the meeting and heard the idea to invite West Point Police Chief Brad Roberts to take charge of not only the reserve officers in West Point, but of those in Donnellson as well.

Donnellson Mayor Dave Ellingboe said it would be necessary to split the amount of money being paid to the chief so that each city would pay its fair share. Walker said the idea had not been discussed with his council yet, so he did not know how its members would respond. He said the idea would have to go before the Safety Committee before going in front of the city council.

At the Donnellson meeting Walker said, “We don’t want to put the cart before the horse,” Walker said. “Nobody on our council even knows about the idea yet.”

For this reason, the entire council discussed the issue Monday.

The group agreed that more smaller cities were beginning to share police chiefs, but in this situation, it boiled down to numbers.

Roberts said he was already running on a bare minimum of reserve officers and wanted to hire more for his own department. He said to his knowledge, Donnellson had only one qualified reserve officer at the moment.

The Donnellson City Council is concerned about several events in its city when police presence will be needed, one of which is the Lee County Fair.

The problem began two years ago when former Donnellson Police Chief William Sackett was arrested after being charged with simple assault. He stepped down from his position and was later found not guilty. Next came Tom Oberman, who was hired in September of 2015, but later resigned in April of 2017.