Former Walworth County Deputy Kari Beaman addressed the Walworth County Commission, Tuesday, April 17, concerning an event that caused her termination.
Beaman had been terminated after it appeared that she had refused to answer an emergency call at 2:38 a.m. on Tuesday, April 3, during a snowstorm.
According to the Mobridge Police report, an employee of Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics requested an officer or deputy meet an Edmunds County deputy who would be transporting blood for a procedure needed at the hospital. The report said Beaman, who was on call, was contacted by the dispatcher to meet the transporter but told the dispatcher that it would be better for someone else, who could drive faster, to take the call.
A Mobridge Police officer drove to Bowdle to pick up the blood.
Beaman told the commission she believed the termination resulted from a misunderstanding. She said her vehicle had been left out in the elements and thought it would take less time for deputy Travis Bentz, who was also on call, to be ready and on the road before she would. Beaman said Bentz was also a better driver in bad weather and lived closer to the meeting location.
Beaman said she was not refusing the call and would have gone on the call if Bentz could not.
The commission listened to her explanation of the event, but no action was taken at the time.
Commissioner Kevin Holgard and Walworth County State’s Attorney Jamie Hare, members of the Walworth County Jail Committee told the board about the April committee meeting.
Holgard said there are about 50 items on a list submitted by Brad Hompe as a jail consultant that should be implemented to bring the current jail facility to the suggested standards of operation of a jail facility. That lists includes items like keeping the door on the control room closed at all time; keeping all doors separating prisoners and jail employees secured at all times; logging rounds during every shift; and consistent use of weapons lockers before going into the facility.
The commissioners heard that EAPC Architects and Engineers of Sioux Falls are currently firming up plans for a 70-bed facility with no juvenile confinement area. There will be a juvenile holding cell for those waiting to be transported to other facilities.
The committee is firming up items like the number of beds, square footage needed and specific costs before the next committee meeting on May 10 and 11.
This information will be available to tax payers at public meetings to be planned in the near future.
In other business the Walworth County Commission:
• Approved the first reading of the ordinance dissolving the Walworth County Planning and Zoning Board and having the commission serve as that board.
• Approved promoting jail deputy Aaron Vogel to patrol deputy sheriff.
• Approved signing an agreement with a number of other counties in the area for records management software for both the jail and sheriff’s office. The Mobridge Police department and E911 Dispatch are also part of this group. This will drop the cost of the new software to $88,000.
• Approved purchasing a pick-up for $11,000 for weed and pest supervisor Jake Fees. He located the vehicle at the federal surplus in Huron. Fees will use the vehicle for emergency situations and other work-related needs.
– Katie Zerr