Entries Tagged 'SFPD' ↓

Solar Speed Signs just make sense!

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Besides people shooting themselves over a meth deal in Sioux Falls these days, we have another epidemic, speeding in residential areas. If I hear one complaint more from residents about crime, it is people who speed through sensitive areas (mostly school zones). There is a solution, and it is quite effective, and rather inexpensive. Small towns across South Dakota have been using solar powered flashing speed signs. Not only are they pretty frickin’ handy, they can also be moved quite easily using a bracket system.

Councilor Stehly is pushing for ‘testing’ these signs. She was voted down during the budget process, but she tells me that she is still pushing for them. Like snow gates, Theresa won’t give up until they are implemented or at least tested.

Our chief traffic engineer responded to a series of questions from Theresa;

From: Hoftiezer, Heath
Sent: Thursday, September 15, 2016 10:52 AM
To: Stehly, Theresa <TStehly@siouxfalls.org>
Subject: Responses to Speed Trailer Questions

1. You indicated that we are using the speed safety signs on poles within school districts only. The city currently does not own any for residential areas.

That is correct, so far we have limited usage to School Zones.

 2. We talked about the areas that are high complaint areas.  Right now, how often do we put the speed trailers out. How many speed trailers do we have and how long do you let them sit in an area? How do you decided who gets to have the speed trailers?

There are three speed trailers that are moved around to different locations on a weekly basis from Spring thru Fall.  A list of speeding complaint areas that is generated by calls to Police, Public Works, City Clerks, Mayors Office and received CRM’s is used to determine where the trailers are placed.

 3. We talked about the speed trailers we currently have sticking into the roadway. It is also my understanding that they are bulky and labor intensive to move.

Depending on location on narrower streets the trailers can influence traffic quite a bit due to protruding into the driving area (this can be good and bad).   The trailers generally take up a parking spot in order to be placed so they are not able to be placed at locations that do not have parking.  It takes approximately one day for a person to pick-up and deploy the three speed trailers that the City currently has.

 4.  You seemed to view the addition of pole mounted solar speed signs in notorious complaint areas as a possible benefit for our community. You said you would appreciate it and they would be used  if they were available.

That is correct.  We have explored the concept of what you are proposing a couple of years ago and our biggest concern was what the expectation would be for relocation timelines.  The 3 month rotations that you were talking about would be reasonable to work with.

 Please let me know if you need anything else.

 Heath R. Hoftiezer, P.E., PTOE • Principal Traffic Engineer City of Sioux Falls

Stehly also got an estimate from a traffic control company;

ESTIMATE FROM:  Radarsign, LLC

Price estimate for 10 solar 400 speed signs for Sioux Falls South Dakota.

Dimension 4ft 5ft

35mph

Signs 10 $–3,595 per sign $35,950

Brackets Included

Postage 160 per sign $1,600

Traditional speed limit sign $25 per sign $250

Customer Discount -$5,000

Total cost $32,800

Warranty……..2 years

Easy to Move

Low Maintenance

Tracking information available for $ 250 per sign / $2,500

Can be mounted on light pole or traditional pole

Testimonial;

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Was the Sioux Falls Police Department planning to send officers to ND to assist in DAPL protest enforcement

The rumor is that the SD Highway Patrol was assisting the effort and the SFPD was prepared to send 30 officers to the site for ‘crowd control’ training and assistance, but backed out. I guess a local TV station has been digging around on the issue.

Councilor Erpenbach, you are the ‘Embarrassment’

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I watched the city council debate tonight over Wiley’s license;

The Sioux Falls City Council voted to allow the renewal of a liquor license for Wiley’s Tavern in downtown Sioux Falls after more than a half-hour of debate.

City Councilors Greg Neitzert, Theresa Stehly, and Pat Starr visited the popular downtown bar on Friday amid their concerns about the disproportionate calls to Police. They shared their stories, and questioned bar officials about the business and security practices. The Councilors said it was never their intention to pull the bar’s liquor license, but they wanted to use the forum to discuss the bar’s practice of serving patrons alcohol even after they appear intoxicated.

Though councilors Kiley, Erpenbach and Mayor Huether felt the debate wasn’t necessary, I think if a bar has 165 police calls in 9 months, we should be very concerned. Mr. Duncan, the bar’s attorney argued that they get 5x more police calls because they do 5x more business then competing bars. What concerns me more then the obvious over serving is the cost to taxpayers. Let’s say each police call costs us at a minimum $100 a pop, that is $16,500 of tax dollars spent on a bar making loads of money over serving people. How are we making that money back. We are not.

Councilor Michelle Erpenbach called the entire debate an “embarrassment”.

Councilors Stehly, Starr and Neitzert pointed out they were not embarrassed for doing due diligence. Michelle should be embarrassed that while she has been on council she hasn’t done any due diligence. Greg went on to say it was the duty of the city council to review a bar (which is a public place) that has that volume of calls before approving a license;

“The question is why so many police calls?” asked Neitzert.

Pat Starr was also disappointed that there would be no public input and got into with the mayor after stopping the roll call vote by saying ‘Point of Order’.

After a lengthy debate, the Council voted 7-1 to renew the Wiley’s liquor license. Councilor Pat Starr was the lone “no” vote.

The debate ended on a testy exchange between Mayor Mike Huether and Councilor Pat Starr, who wanted to take public input on the matter, but Mayor Huether called for a roll call vote.

The mayor told Pat he has been doing this for 7 years and doesn’t allow public input. Pat told him he disagreed. The mayor hates it when things get ‘messy’ because it makes him look bad. You look bad ‘High Crimes’ Mike because you are neglecting to address crime in our city. I applaud any city councilor that is trying to get a handle on our ‘high crime’ city.

On a separate note, I am also concerned about taxpayers when it comes to Wiley’s hiring off-duty police to be security. The starting pay for officers in Sioux Falls is $49,000 a year. Do they need a part-time job? And if so, should they be running security? I also question how many of these security officers leave Wiley’s at 3 AM after a stressful night, then report to patrol our streets the next morning. How can they do their #1 job if they may be tired and stressed from their part-time job? While I don’t take issue with them having a second job or even their own business on the side, it should be prohibited that they work in a high stress security position. Working for the public’s safety should be their #1 priority.

What’s up with Wiley’s Pub?

Over the past year or so there have been several complaints to city councilors, the SFPD, and the Minnehaha County commissioners and frankly anyone who will listen about how Wileys conducts business (video lottery and smoking) and security issues.

I went with three city councilors on Friday night to the establishment. I left at around 10 PM, but before I left I noticed that on Friday nights that they serve ‘fish bowl’ drinks. They are pretty much a beer pitcher filled with a mixer and about 5 shots of booze. I knew where this party was going.

While I didn’t see anything unusual (when I was in my 20’s I hung out at the Pomp Room, Top Hat and JAMZ) I will say the food was awful and it was extremely loud.

Well, I did get out of there in good time, like I said, I knew where the party was headed when you are serving 5-shot drinks. The councilors stuck around, and they got quite a show.

Besides the extremely intoxicated people leaving at the end of the night and stumbling into traffic on busy 6th street and Main, the security, who are mostly off-duty police officers, really abused their power. At one point seven of them were on top of one intoxicated gentleman outside.

Some would say when people are that extremely ripped, they get treated by how they are acting. But who is creating this kind of binge drinking environment?

I suspect we will be hearing more about Wiley’s from the city council over the next week. The council has photos and video of the activities from Friday night.

Do we have a different epidemic besides texting and driving?

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There will be a presentation to the city council on Tuesday about saturation patrols in Sioux Falls. I found it interesting the number of people caught with no driver’s license or insurance.

This has been a problem for a long time in South Dakota. It’s one of the reasons I drive very defensively, you never know who is on the streets with no insurance.

Sioux Falls Police, Sensitivity training and Entrapment

Sometimes you would think I had a crystal ball. I have been warning for a long time that our police department needed to go through sensitivity training and not just because of the LBGTQ community, but for diverse cultures, etc.

The department plans to send representatives to Pierre in December for a three-day training workshop that will include sessions on interacting with transgender people. Attendees will share their training with the rest of the department upon their return.

One of my native friends used to joke with me that the SFPD would often pull him over for DWI (driving while indian). This isn’t just a a transgender issue, this is a real issue in our community. With the dramatic increase in violent crime in Sioux Falls, it is time our police force bucks up and becomes more professional.

I knew this ‘sex sting entrapment’ crap would eventually blow up in the SFPD’s face

A few years ago a judge warned that posing as Mickey Mouse to entrap potential sex offenders wouldn’t fly. Now it seems the tax payers of Sioux Falls may be paying for their stupidity;

Murphy in his lawsuit claims that he tried to leave the meeting after learning the age of the woman he was supposed to be meeting with, but was held against his will. He was then arrested by undercover authorities.

The lawsuit alleges that Murphy’s rights were violated because he wasn’t allowed to leave once he refused the undercover officer’s offer. The lawsuit alleges Murphy’s Fourth and 14th Amendment rights were violated.

Is a person who is seeking a prostitute a creep? Well, yeah. But in his defense (I use that lightly) he did refuse the service once he found out it was an underage girl. All that aside, I have never understood why our PD wants to ‘create crime’ to make it look they are tough on sex trafficking. Our State’s Attorneys office is overloaded with REAL criminal cases, why create more work for them? Like I said, the guy is a creeper and probably deserved the 2 year sentence. But instead of creating situations for people to commit crime, why don’t we crack down on REAL criminal activity. I’m starting to get more and more why our PD didn’t get a raise.

What about the ‘morale’ of the Sioux Falls Police Department?

Some people say I am hard on our police force, I am, they should be held to a higher standard when it comes to ethics, I think most understand that. But when it comes to pay of public employees, I am a BIG advocate in paying our police force what they deserve;

The Fraternal Order of Police and the City of Sioux Falls have been holding several bargaining sessions trying to put together a labor agreement able to satisfy both sides.

After seven meetings between the two, the City put forward what they say is their final offer for a two year agreement that includes a one-point-five percent annual wage increase.

“I don’t know if that was the best offer the city could make but it’s the offer that the City said it was the last offer it was going to make. We believe that the City certainly has the financial ability to do better by its employees, particularly its police officers,” explained Wilka.

“It has become more and more difficult to preform the job of a policeman without everyone looking over your shoulder. It’s gotten more challenging not less challenging, so if anything the raises should be greater not less than what they’ve been historically,” stated Wilka.

I agree 100% with Wilka. With all the tension with police these days between the public and them, and the FACT that violent crime in Sioux Falls is on an extreme upward spiral, this is a piss poor time to offer them a piss poor raise.

That and the irony of wanting to build a new $25 million dollar admin building to increase the ‘morale’ of city administration workers. What about the ‘morale’ of our police force?

“The city has all kinds of money for this project or another project, the latest being the 25 million dollar administration building,” Wilka tells KELO Radio News. “and then to turn around and be told that you are only going to get a raise that is less than is what is commonly done in both public and private sectors in this region, that really produces a negative reaction on the part of people.”

I want to fill Mr. Wilka in on a little secret, the building that is being proposed ISN’T being built for the public or the employees, just sayin’.

Ethics Meeting, August 10, 2016. Giftcards for Cops

The Sioux Falls received a “couple” of donations or was it 300? An interesting Board of Ethics meeting in late morning August 8, 2016 happened where two Sioux Falls churches wanted to do something nice for Police Department employees by giving them thank you cards with random dollar amount gift cards.

We attended because we wanted to show the people of Sioux Falls how the process works and to watch how certain participants worked. This came down to the police department employees were getting “discounted” dollars off meals at certain food joints in town. We don’t know who or where but after the Police Department fills their collective stomachs at the hospital cafes, they now can get discounted food at these select food joints. No ethics problem with this is there?

Cameraman Bruce was there so the rest of the town didn’t have to go. To the credit of a couple of the board members, it was not a hard decision to make in rejecting the cards.

Sioux Falls Ethics Commission Rules SFPD must return gift cards

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I hope to have video up by tomorrow. You can read the ethics opinion request DOC: policegifts

The SF Police Department has a policy against receiving gifts (consumables, such as food) unless it is consumed on premesis (explains how they can stuff their faces at Avera).

The Ethics commission ruled they should return the gift cards they received from two local churches in appreciation for their service. While this may sound harsh, I agree with the ethics commission. I don’t think they should receive any monetary gifts. They get a paycheck for what they do, if that is not enough, they should talk to their union rep.

I hope to have more details soon.

The Sioux Falls ‘Fireworks’ debate

There has been a lot of discussion about cracking down on fireworks use in the city and for several good reasons;

 – The noise is emotionally stressful for pets and people dealing with PTSD

 – The fireworks could cause home fires or other damage to property

 – Shooting of pyro in close quarters is dangerous and could cause personal harm

While I am not bothered by the noise, the fire hazard concerns me, especially people shooting off the larger cakes and roman candles. But I think the debate really comes down to fairness. While the parking attendants downtown have no mercy and if your lawn gets over 8” a professional crew is sent in at $150 an hour to mow it, it seems when it comes to fireworks, the police (or more importantly the police management) don’t really care.

I also saw this during Hot Harley Nights when I joked with a couple officers they should have their decibel meters out and hand out some tickets. One of them said, “Yeah right.” And I knew they wouldn’t. It seems some things are just given a blind eye in Sioux Falls. But tomatoes in the boulevard, long grass and low tree limbs, then we really have a problem.

I’ve told people wait until a housing development burns to the ground because some jackass shot off some fireworks in Sioux Falls, then everyone will stand around scratching their heads wondering if they should have done something.

Some would say that the police have a good argument, out over 600 police calls concerning fireworks, they could only hand out 14 tickets, because they ‘had to catch them in the act’ AND ‘respond to other calls’. I have said there is a simple solution to that, put out 4 unmarked police cars with undercover officers out on 4th or July weekend. When you get a call, drive to the address and sit in the car until they fire something off, then present them with a ticket. When people see a police car with lights flashing, the first thing they are going to do is hide the fireworks. Duh.

I think we need to get serious about fireworks violations in Sioux Falls and not worry about how tall my neighbors grass is.