Fifth deputy hired to address growing number of calls

Brenda Wade Schmidt

Moody County has hired a sheriff’s deputy to fill a fifth position being added this year to county law enforcement.
Trista Bulit, who has been a dispatcher with the county for several months, started March 11.
The county is seeing people interested in deputy positions willing to start in dispatch, said Marty Skroch, human resources director. “Four people in a row have gone from dispatch to deputy,” he said.
In addition to Sheriff Troy Wellman, the county has had four deputies in the past. But during budget hearings last fall, Wellman made the case that an additional deputy was needed to cover the growing number of emergency calls to his office and an increase in crime. Last year’s call numbers were up more than 700 calls from a year earlier. So far this year, the number of calls are more than 100 over last year at this time.
Bulit will start working and training with the deputies locally and will need to complete a 13-week certification program in Pierre within a year, Skroch said.
The county is advertising for her replacement. “She’s just done a really good job dispatching for us,” he said.
At the March 5 meeting, commissioners also approved the hiring of two ambulance staff.
Michael Hartley, an officer with the Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe, will work as a part-time paramedic as needed and if he can be available. Tracy Barton-Opdahl, a nurse, also will work part-time as needed.
In other business,
•Commissioners discussed a concern by commissioner John Schiefelbein that the speed limit on a 15-mile stretch of Old Highway 77 should be dropped back to 55 miles an hour after being changed to 60 miles an hour in 2011.
Schiefelbein has said the road is poor and that the speed limit should match the 55 miles an hour to the south and north of it. The area that is 60 miles an hour is from north of South Dakota Highway 34 to the Brookings County line.
In 2011, the commission voted 3-2 to change the speed with some concerns that there might be more accidents. But that has not been the case over the last eight years.
After the discussion, no motion was made to drop the speed limit back.
•Three new alternates to the county zoning board were named. Serving as alternates will be Jerry Doyle, Marty Parsley and Jenna Carr. They join Brendan Sheppard and Dusty LeBrun who already are alternates.
Each commissioner has an alternate chosen from their area in case they are unable to serve on the board when it meets or in case they have a conflict of interest that prevents them from considering an issue.

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