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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

As calls rise, Ely loses a squad car

Blown engine prompts rental agreement with Breitung Township

Keith Vandervort
Posted 7/21/21

ELY – The Ely Police Department will operate for the rest of this year, and perhaps longer, with just two primary squad cars due to a blown engine in their third vehicle, a situation which …

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As calls rise, Ely loses a squad car

Blown engine prompts rental agreement with Breitung Township

Posted

ELY – The Ely Police Department will operate for the rest of this year, and perhaps longer, with just two primary squad cars due to a blown engine in their third vehicle, a situation which could affect the department’s overall response capabilities.
The EPD responded to 2,347 incidents in 2020, about two dozen more calls than in 2019, according to Police Chief Chad Houde, so the number of incidents/calls for 2020 is about typical. However, having one less squad car for at least a year could be a challenge for the overall response efficiency of the department, Chief Houde told city council members Tuesday night.
To solve that challenge, Houde received approval from the budget committee and the full council to work out a rental agreement with Breitung Township to provide a squad car in the event that another Ely police vehicle is taken out of operation.
Interim Mayor Chuck Novak told the council that while the squad car “had a lot of miles on it and is not that new” the city is unable to replace the equipment until next year “when vehicles become available.”
Budget committee member Al Forsman added, “It will take a little bit of time to get a replacement. We can get by with two squads, but what if we have another breakdown or something else happens. It is nice to be able to work with another community for help. We should have the agreement in place this week.”
On the recommendation of the budget committee, the council also approved the purchase of a tablet computer for the police department’s squad truck for $2,122.
Last year, the police department had 274 traffic stops to lead the list of incident responses provided to the council. Medical assists totaled 181. Law enforcement responded to 125 disturbance calls and dealt with 118 call-backs.
Other notable incidents in the 2020 dispatch report included three responses to burglaries in progress, five burglary reports and one robbery. Animal disturbance calls were at 85. Officers responded to 97 requests to check the welfare of someone. Garbage calls totaled 16. There were 17 reports of fireworks. Two reports of a fight were answered, along with 11 incidents of loud music and 10 reports of loud parties. Police responded to 29 reports of neighbors not getting along, and 23 reports of “unknown trouble.”
The complete list is available at the Ely Police Department.

Other business
In other business, the council:
• Heard from Aaron Kania, district ranger for the Kawishiwi Ranger District of the Superior National Forest, about local response efforts involving the ongoing forest fires in the Ely area this summer.
• Approved new grave marker size rules for the Ely Cemetery, on recommendation from the Cemetery Committee, eliminated the need for post footings for gravestone placement, and rejected the wording of new rules signage, indicating the notices were “not positive enough and too wordy.”
• Approved the Ely Public Library staff to attend the Association of Rural and Small Libraries conference in Sparks, Nev., Oct. 20-23. The library will be closed for those days.
• Accepted the resignation of Tom Conaway from the Library Board and agreed to post for the opening.
• Restarted Tim Riley’s term on the Planning and Zoning Commission.
• Appointed election judges for the Aug. 10 special election for mayor.

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