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Law enforcement issues
cropping up at Dearborn

by Ivan Foley
Landmark reporter

Some Dearborn residents want more bang for their law enforcement buck.

That was the message from some of the people in attendance at Monday night's meeting of the Dearborn Board of Aldermen.

Vandalism and stolen cars are plaguing northern Platte County, including Dearborn.

At Monday's alderman meeting, residents and city officials expressed concern over recent incidents in the city and surrounding area.

Mayor Marvin Landes said he encourages residents seeing suspicious activity to dial 9-1-1.

"That helps us," he said, explaining it's important that reports of crime are filed with authorities.

Dearborn's law enforcement is provided by the Platte County Sheriff's Department at a price of around $1,200 per month. Landes said he hasn't examined the city's agreement with the county to see exactly what services are provided for that cost.

"I think we get three deputies working different eight hour shifts. Some days there will be one deputy, some days two, some days three," he said.

There has been a rash of stolen cars in northern Platte County recently. Many of the cars have been stolen and recovered a short time later, leading some to suspect teenagers may be stealing the cars and taking them on "joy rides."

One resident at the board meeting said law enforcement should crack down on "kids out late at night" by enforcing a curfew ordinance. More night patrols might also be beneficial, he said.

Gary Dugger, former Dearborn police chief, was in attendance at Monday's meeting. He said some of the county patrol cars now carry bicycles in he trunk. He recommended bicycle patrols by the deputies as a way to cut down on vandalism and other crime.

"The bicycles are quiet and get around quick," Dugger said. "When I was chief here I would park my car and walk a lot."

One resident said he believes the county officers would do the city more benefit by being seen in the populated areas of the town and not "sitting behind DeBruce Ag" checking for speeding vehicles.

Steve Counts, former alderman who resigned last month, recommended someone from the city talking to the sheriff to voice concerns.

Landes said it has been suggested the city should return to running its own police department. But that would be costly.

"We can do it if you all want to float a bond," he told the room of 12-15 people attending Monday night's meeting.

He said the city would need at least two officers to run a department.