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Flandreau City ponders fine increases

Posted: Monday, Nov 25th, 2013

The Flandreau Police Department has had the same fine schedule since 2008, and they are now looking into upgrading the fines to bring them up to speed with the rest of the State.

Between Police Chief Jim Morey, the City Council, and State’s Attorney Paul Lewis, they will look into what exactly they want to set for fines in the City of Flandreau.

Right now, the City’s and the State’s fine schedule look very different, allowing the City’s Attorney to choose which one of the two fine schedules he will use to prosecute depending on the severity of the situation, giving him ‘two barrels to choose from’ as he put it at the meeting.

Chief Morey suggested to the Council that they take the State rates, and just subtract three dollars to each one. Why three dollars? That is the amount of money that goes to the Attorney General on State citations to help train officers, and since these won’t be State citations, they do not need that three dollars.

“What this looks like now is that we are trying to mirror the State’s schedule, and if we do that, than our attorney won’t have two barrels to choose from,” Alderman Bart Sample said.

As the Council looked over the new proposed fine schedule, there were several questions and concerns raised about them. For example, with the proposed changes, a parking ticket in Flandreau would cost $92 dollars, where it is only $25 now, an increase of $67; the council does not think that is reasonable.

“I agree with that whole heartedly that this is too high,” Chief Morey said. “We will be working on numbers that are more appropriate.”

Another example would be ‘unauthorized climbing on any building or structure’. The fine would be $25 dollars but as Alderman Ron Smith pointed out, that wouldn’t even begin to pay for the lawsuit if someone were to fall off one of their buildings.

The Council also noticed that some fines weren’t enough in their opinion, such as intent to poison law where the new fine would be only $100.

“If you really wanted to get rid of somebody’s dog bad enough I don’t think that a $100 fine would be that good of a deterrent,” Alderman Chuck Tufty said at the meeting. “Some of these just aren’t as stiff as they should be to get people’s attention,” he added.

There are also some things that Council said they wouldn’t mind seeing struck from the books because they are never enforced anyway, but Chief Morey thinks that isn’t wise.

“I don’t know if I’d be willing to strike anything, because if you don’t have an ordinance, then we can never enforce it,” Morey said.

Morey and Lewis will meet with the Council at the December 2nd meeting where they will discuss more in depth the final numbers for the fines in hopes of updating the books to a fine schedule that is appropriate for Flandreau.

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