SUTHERLAND—Two equipment-related items topped the agenda at the Sutherland City Council meeting this month: police weapons and a new fire truck.
The issue of firearms was raised during Derek Nixon’s department report on February 7. As the only city officer who was hired in September, Nixon worked to rebuild the force that had been vacant for more than six months.
Sutherland Police don’t have their own gun. Nixon said the firearms made available to him through the state loan program were of poor quality. The Iowa Criminal Investigation Division distributes used rifles to police officers in need, but Nixon said the one he received didn’t even have a firing pin.
“They don’t inspect them before they go to the agencies, ‘Here you go.’ They’re not at their best,” Nixon said.
His proposal is for the city to buy its own rifle. Nixon said he knows the budget is always tight, but he thinks it’s a necessary purchase.
Council members asserted what they saw as the need for a reliable weapon, the cost of which Nixon estimated would be in the four figures.
“I would feel a bit responsible if our policeman wasn’t fully armed in the kind of situation that seems to come up – for a $2,000 gun,” member Chase Cox said.
“Prevention is better than cure,” added member Patrick Nelson.
There was no vote on the matter, but City Clerk Amanda Vanderhoff said she could put it on the agenda for the next March 7 meeting.
In another report from the emergency department, Fire and Ambulance Chief Mark Shriver gave an update on the new ladder truck he plans to purchase.
Shriver said there was a used vehicle in Connecticut he could get for $55,000. He budgeted an extra $20,000 — which he said was intentionally more than he expected to spend — for inspections, equipment updates and radio installation.
Shriver added that it was cheaper than the truck he originally envisioned, which was twice as expensive at $149,000. During his November report, the chief brought up the size of the fire truck, which he said might “think it’s overkill for Sutherland.”
“A few of us in the department are worried about the Willoway. Our ladders don’t reach the bottom of the windows, so you can’t save them,” Shriver said.
The Willoway Complex is a three-story senior living facility that includes 17 apartments.
Shriver said the high-quality equipment would also be an asset on other calls.
He also said he was thrilled with the first major new addition to his department in years.
“I think we have a department that hasn’t been flashy and flashy in our spending or overspending as far as I’m concerned,” Shriver said.
This story first appeared in the February 19, 2022 edition of The South O’Brien Sun.