Wright Co. deputies get practice in emergency mobilization

June 23, 2008

By Ivan Raconteur
Staff Writer

Six Wright County deputies almost left for Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Wednesday to provide security in areas hit by recent flooding.

What was to have been a week-long assignment helping a neighboring state turned out to be “a good exercise in mobilization,” Chief Deputy Joe Hagerty said.

It began when officials in Iowa put out a call for assistance from Minnesota and Illinois, requesting a total of 260 sworn deputies to help with security in areas affected by flooding.

Hagerty said he got the OK from Sheriff Gary Miller, and asked his department for volunteers, and more deputies stepped forward than he could use.

The sheriff’s office asked the county board for approval to send deputies to Iowa, and the board authorized the agreement during a special emergency meeting Tuesday morning.

Hagerty selected the six deputies who would make the trip, filled out the paperwork for the agreement, and put together packets of information for the volunteers. He even mapped out the route to the destination.

He said the volunteers were ready to go when he called his contact in Iowa to find out what time the volunteers were expected. He was told that the situation there was beginning to improve, and the volunteers might not be needed. He was told his group would be put in a resource pool and be “on standby.”

In the end, the Wright County deputies were not needed, and the trip was cancelled.

Even though the trip was cancelled at the last minute, Hagerty views it as a positive situation.

He said it shows that the department has a lot of people who are willing to step up and volunteer, it shows the State of Minnesota that it can rely on Wright County in an emergency, and it shows that the department and the county can respond quickly in times of need.

The inter-governmental agreement that would have sent the deputies to Iowa was arranged through the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, and Wright County would have been reimbursed for the cost of sending the deputies through the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Hagerty said.

Odds and ends

In other business, the board:

• approved the low bid of $4,820,182 from Mathiowetz Construction for the Highway 17 project in Delano. Commissioner Jack Russek said work could begin as early as today.

• heard from County Assessor Greg Kramber that for the sixth consecutive year, the state board of appeal and equalization made no changes to Wright County assessments.

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