HURRICANE – The Hurricane City Council’s agenda included a variety of presentations Thursday night from increasing demands on the city’s Police Department to both praise and complaints on police demeanor. The new budget was introduced, festival reviewed and a couple students of Hurricane High will get a hand with sponsorship dollars so they can compete nationally with their acumen for emergency response.
Police year-end report
Hurricane City Police Department Public Information Officer Sgt. Brandon Buell presented the 2013 year-end review, citing statistics that showed the 20-officer department is getting busier from year to year. Among the information presented, Buell said the police department received an average of 16.23 calls for service per day and 239 more calls for service than in 2012. Additionally, the Police Department made 1,203 more traffic stops and saw 43 more accidents than the year before.
Trailer park fire code violation
Brad Whitus, from Paradise Ranch, a mobile home park, came to address the council about the park’s lack of a fire suppression system. City Attorney Fay Reber and several council members expressed to Whitus that no one should even be living in the park because it is not up to code, but once it is, people can move back in.
Mayor John Bramall told Whitus that if there was a fire on the property right now there would be no way to quell it and that, as a result, the park would be shut down and owner Brent Peterson would lose the property. Councilman Kevin Tervort said that in such a scenario, the city would also be held liable since the park is in violation of code.
“If it were up to me, you’d be shut down tomorrow,” Councilman Darin Thomas told Whitus, saying that Peterson has not listened and complied with the council before.
Whitus responded to the council’s chastisement by saying he guaranteed that by the end of next week the fire suppression system would be up and running, after which the council moved on to other business.
Concerned Hurricane citizen Burton Sant attended the meeting to express his concerns during the public forum about the Police Department allegedly bullying residents. He presented results of a 53-person survey he completed himself in which he asked respondents if they would rather be in the presence of the police or nonviolent criminals and the majority said they’d rather be with nonviolent criminals.
“I’m afraid of the police,” Sant said.
Police are supposed to make residents feel safe, Sant said, but according to his survey, they do otherwise.
Rebutting Sant’s statements and survey, Reber said that when residents say they’ve been bullied, dashcam video during traffic stops shows otherwise – that in actuality police are kind to residents.
Bramall and a few residents in the audience agreed with Reber. Bramall said he is proud to live in a city where the police keep people safe.
Win-win bike festival
Over The Edge Bike Shop owner and Hurricane Mountain Bike Festival organizer Quentin Morisette provided a report on the March 28-30 festival, saying it was extremely positive and moving it to the spring made a difference. He said he should have pre-ordered more T-shirts and meals because there was not enough to accommodate all the participants.
The concert and beer garden on the Saturday night of the festival, for which the city made a special exception to its prohibition of alcohol in city parks as an accommodation to the festival, did not garner any complaints, Morisette said. Police Chief Lynn Excell said there were no problems with it and it was a “very good operation.”
“This was a win-win-win for everybody,” Bramall said to Morisette. “We hope you do it every year.”
In addition, the council approved a $600 sponsorship to help send Hurricane High School students Ashley Houston and Jaylyn Humphries, first-place winners of the state Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT, state competition, to Florida for the national competition. The competition tests students’ skills in responding to disaster situations.
The council also approved the 2014-2015 preliminary budget and amendments to the 2013-2014 budget.
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