Freistatt Board of Trustees to review security options Thursday

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Village offers ID option to school over suspicious vehicles

The Freistatt Board of Trustees is expected to revisit a security issue when it meets Thursday, an issue that surfaced in discussion during the board's January meeting.

Gavin Greenwood, chief operating officer and owner of intellilink, offered the village two free internet connections in return for placing his broadcast equipment on the village standpipe. Greenwood thought he could replace the telephone link between the city's two wells, which alternates pumping as the standpipe empties.

Greenwood reported that effort would not work without significant expense for equipment that communicate with the wells. In lieu of that, Greenwood offered an internet connection for a security camera for the exterior of the Freistatt Community Building. His service would link to a camera that could be accessed from a cell phone or other remote source.

Two cameras, available from another vendor, would have a 360 degree range and cost $900. While Trustee Brenna Schroeder liked the idea, especially the range that would show the post office boxes and the bus stop on Highway H, Board Chairman Mike Ortwein raised concerns over the cost. With Trustee Elmer Conway absent, the matter was tabled until the Feb. 8 meeting.

Another security issue prompted the board to send a letter to the Board of Education at the Trinity Lutheran School. Schroeder reported since August someone has been parking outside the school during the day on a regular basis. The Lawrence County Sheriff's Department ran the license number at the request of the school but would only tell school officials the driver was "a commuter."

Village Marshal Kevin Davis followed up with his own check and the school was informed of the motorist's identity. Clerk Deborah Schoen informed Principal Amanda Moennig that if the school had concerns, or needed identification in the future, the village police could help. Moennig, Schoen said, contacting the village "was not our protocol," and suggested writing a letter to the school board to address the point.

Trustees authorized a letter inviting the school to contact the village over security concerns.

"In particular, should you see any suspicious vehicles hanging around at the school or nearby, please do not hesitate to contact us," the letter said. "If you can obtain a license plate on the vehicle, our protocol simply requires you to give our city clerk a phone call, give her the license plate number and a short description of the circumstances about the vehicle and she will have the license plate run and get back to you with the details.

"We understand it is not a practice of the Lawrence County Sheriff's Department to give out this type of information. However, the village board feels it essential to help in every way possible to keep the children safe at the school. In addition, it is perfectly legal to give out that information for good reason and we asked that you add the practice of contacting us to your protocol if you wish to know more information about a strange vehicle or person. While we cannot provide service in an emergency capacity, we can certainly provide identification information when needed."

In other business:

The board held a budget workshop on Jan. 31. Schoen planned to present a finalized version for adoption at the Feb. 8 meeting.

In October, trustees adopted a new ordinance declaring utility customers who had been late paying their bills three consecutive months as "high risk accounts," requiring full payment of the account or face shut-off. For the second consecutive month, all accounts have been paid and no high risk penalties imposed.

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