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Davison Co. Sheriff's office violates bid policy

The Davison County Sheriff's Office violated policy by purchasing a vehicle without first receiving approval from the County Commission. The Sheriff's Office purchased a 2016 Dodge Charger to serve as a new patrol vehicle, which was included as p...

The Davison County Sheriff's Office violated policy by purchasing a vehicle without first receiving approval from the County Commission.

The Sheriff's Office purchased a 2016 Dodge Charger to serve as a new patrol vehicle, which was included as part of the 2016 county budget, but the sheriff's office never appeared before the five-person board to approve the $26,000 vehicle bid.

Davison County Sheriff Steve Brink did not appear before the board at Tuesday's regular meeting in the county's north offices on Main Street in Mitchell, sending Chief Deputy Steve Harr in his place. The commission did not look to Harr for answers regarding the malfeasance, but Commission Chairwoman Brenda Bode suggested Brink appear before the board at the next meeting.

"He opted not to be here today, but that does not dismiss our questions," Bode said.

County Auditor Susan Kiepke said the circumstances surrounding the vehicle purchase were a violation of state bid laws as the purchase was not in previous meeting minutes prior to making the order from Billion Auto in Sioux Falls.

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The commission agreed it would likely have chosen the low bid from Billion Auto, but it took issue with the lack of proper procedure.

"The decision that we would have made was the same, it's the procedure that was wrong," said Commissioner Denny Kiner.

The commission ultimately approved the purchase, but the commission still sought answers from Brink. Commissioner Kim Weitala asked for a list of items and costs to make the $26,000 vehicle ready for use by law enforcement, and Commissioner John Claggett said it's "irritating" the sheriff's office did not come before the board with the total costs associated with the purchase.

While the office did not follow the state bid laws, Bode ensured her fellow commissioners they could still approve the $26,000 purchase.

"We are within our rights to accept this bid," Bode said.

The commission also approved a request to purchase four dual-band radios and portable scene lighting for the Emergency Management Office.

Deputy Emergency Management Administrator Mark Jenniges presented the proposal to purchase three radios with county funds and one through Homeland Security funds.

The dual-band radios will allow an operator to transmit on one band while receiving transmissions on another at a total cost of $22,160.

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"So what that enables is for all law enforcement agencies to talk at one particular time where we couldn't do that before," Kiner said.

The scene lighting cost $2,339.68 and can be mounted on an emergency management vehicle. Jenniges said the 19,000-lumen lights could be helpful in a missing person situation.

After hearing the high lumen count, which measures the visible light emitted from a source like the scene lighting, Claggett joked about its other possible uses.

"We could open up a tanning bed with that, that's a lot of lumens," Claggett said.

Other business

In other regular business Tuesday, the commissioners:

• Awarded bids for various highway projects and construction equipment.

• Approved a raffle request from the Davison County Democrats.

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• Heard, but did not approve, various chemical bids as presented by Weed Supervisor Warren Carter.

• Approved two sixth-month probationary wage increases for employees of the Community Health Nurse's Office.

• Set date of April 5 to consider a liquor license transfer for Wild Oak.

• Approved the annual memorandum of understanding between the county and the South Dakota State University extension office.

• Approved a training request from Corrections Administrator Don Radel, who requested four or five of his employees participate in a South Dakota Highway Patrol-sponsored law enforcement training course. The registration would be free and the county would pay for meals and hotel rentals.

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