Speaking of improper use of police resources, the Mitchell mayor Jerry Toomey has decided, without council discussion or approval, to deploy a city cop to guard the City Council chamber doors during closed sessions… because, what, so many people have been trying to bust through the door to hear councilors’ secret conversations?
The Mitchell Daily Republic editorial board finds this move silly and fiscally irresponsible:
While this was pegged as a “no-cost alternative” to protect the information discussed in private by the council, it certainly isn’t. By forcing an officer to stand idly by the council chamber while crime may be occurring elsewhere, the city is prioritizing money on a guard. That money could otherwise be used to staff an on-duty officer.
We see the decision to station an officer outside of Council Chambers as an inefficiency that could easily be solved by one of two methods.
First, the council could do what it’s done several times before: move the executive session to another room. Or second, and much more reasonable, council members could speak more quietly.
If the council is going to spend money on this initiative, it would make more sense to reinforce the door rather than station a police officer at the door to guard against nothing [editorial board, “A Nonsensical New Normal at City Council Meetings,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2017.09.11].
A South Dakota mayor or city councilor thinking he needs police protection during secret deliberations has too high an opinion of his importance. We need to drop these constant police-state posturings in our public buildings and get back to an efficient use of our public safety resources to protect everyone, not just elected elitists.