New police pursuit policy approved by city

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 7/21/99.

As required by the 1999 Omnibus Crime Bill, the Paynesville City Council at their Wednesday night meeting approved a new pursuit driving and emergency response policy for the Paynesville Police Department.

"During the last legislative session, the Legislature passed language that impacts police pursuit driving in Minnesota. One component was a revision of POST's model policy on pursuits. I feel the changes came about because of all the publicity on pursuits in the metro area," Tony Schmitt, Paynesville Police Chief, said. "We have until July 30 to comply with the ruling."

Schmitt informed the council the changes impacted language and definitions in our local policy and will require more training. "Every officer will be required to take an eight-hour pursuit driving course every three years," he added.

"Our policy hasn't changed much. We now have clearer definitions," Schmitt said. "The major issue is the training. Police officers are required to train to use their gun which (thankfully) we never use but we get into our cars everyday."

• The council approved the final plat for Ampe Morningside Addition. The property is located on the east side of Morningside Drive.

A public hearing will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 11, at 6:30 p.m., to change the zoning from agriculture to residential.

• The council approved a new tree trimming ordinance. The old ordinance did not include a provision for boulevard trees. Property owners are required to trim any tree, shrub, or other vegetation within the width of a sidewalk between sidewalk level and a height of seven feet so usage of sidewalks will not be obstructed.

• Pete Carlson, city engineer, presented the Paynesville American Legion with six options on how to cover the assessments on their new property.

The assessments on the property are $44,790.

"There was a lot of confusion and lack of communication on behalf of both parties involved as to the exact amount of the assessments," Dennis Wilde, city administrator, said.v "The city does bear some responsibility for the confusion," Bill Spooner, city attorney, said. "However, the Legion did know the assessments were $44,790 before signing the title papers. It was bad timing on their part as they needed to move forward with the construction of the building."

Council member Dave Peschong said if the council starts forgiving assessments on one piece of property, they would probably be bombarded with similar requests on future projects.

"The Legion will have to live with whatever the council decides," Joe Kremer, American Legion building committee member, said.

Kremer will take the options back to the Legion board.

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