Back Print

Plenty of discussion, but only one action taken following a lengthy Decorah City Council discussion about the police department

Posted: Mon, Mar 4, 2019 7:45 PM

City of Decorah officials have been informally researching whether a merger of the city and county law enforcement agencies--or just having the County Sheriff's Office supervise the Decorah Police Department--would make any sense.

But they have not held a public hearing or a meeting of the Personnel Committee or the Public Safety Committee to discuss the issues involved.  Instead, Mayor Lorraine Borowski said Monday night that she could not support such a new organization for local law enforcement.

City council members were somewhat surprised by the mayor's statement.  "I feel like I'm missing something," said Dan Bellrichard, while Johanna Bergan stated, "There's been no formal committee meeting, no public comment...I don't think we've had the discussion."  Ross Hadley added, "We've skipped a step in this process."

But after discussing the issue for about one hour, city council member Kirk Johnson concluded the proposed law enforcement changes were "a potentially divisive issue."  Bellrichard introduced a resolution calling on City Administrator Chad Bird to draw up requests for proposals on hiring a new Decorah Police Chief.  The resolution didn't necessarily cut off future discussion of a law enforcement rearrangement, but it did pass by a 6-1 vote, with council member Steve Luse the only city council member in opposition.