Citizens lodge complaints against officer
Grievances stem from incident after street dance
CARBONDALE—A disturbance at a street dance in Carbondale Saturday
night has resulted in complaints against one of the city’s
police officers regarding the treatment of a minor involved in the
Debbie Traphagen told the Carbondale City Council Monday evening
that her daughter was put to the ground by a police officer and
handcuffed because of pushing and shoving going on within a group
of people. The council also heard from Misty Brown, who said her
daughter was being pushed and punched by people in the group and
had to flee to get away from the disturbance.
Carbondale City Attorney Sue DeVoe confirmed this week that officer
Gregg Wallace was the subject of the council’s discussion
and the subject of more than one written complaint received by the
city regarding the incident.
The council took no action on a demand from an unidentified person
at the meeting who requested the officer be suspended without pay.
Instead, heeding the advice of DeVoe, the council approved calling
in an outside law enforcement agency to conduct an independent investigation.
“We’re uncertain who is going to be investigating, but
until that’s done, the city would not have any other comment,”
DeVoe said Tuesday morning.
DeVoe told the council that no action should be taken until the
independent investigator obtained all the facts from both sides.
“This needs to be investigated and properly conducted,”
DeVoe told The Herald-Chronicle. “This involves allegations
of a child victim, and the city council obviously takes this kind
of situation very seriously.”
Names and addresses were taken from the persons involved in the
complaint. DeVoe told the council the investigation should be conducted
within the next two weeks.
The council approved council member Patty Kreshel’s motion
to bring in an outside agency to investigate the incident.
In other police department discussion, the council heard a request
from Wallace to purchase a new portable breath test device, used
to determine a person’s blood alcohol content. The city’s
testing device is no longer operational and cannot be repaired.
A new device will cost $500. The council approved the purchase.
The police department also requested the council to again consider
the purchase of a defibrillator, at a cost of $1,500. It was stated
that the police department responds to medical calls within the
city limits and at times are on the scene before first responders.
An attempt has been made to work with American Medical Response
to have one donated, but none have been available. Council member
Lee Curtis asked if any officers were trained to use the equipment,
and Wallace stated that there was. Council member Clint Vawter said
that since it is close to the end of the year, the purchase should
be delayed for financial reasons.
Wallace also reported on a recent arrest in the city, during which
cash and nine grams of methamphetamine were confiscated. He said
the county attorney could assist with forfeiture of the suspect’s
vehicle to the city if the council decided to pursue it. After much
discussion, it was decided too much bureaucracy would be required
to obtain the vehicle.
In other discussion, the council held a meeting for the public building
commission established for the purpose of constructing a swimming
pool. A resolution establishing members of the commission was considered,
with officers selected as follows: the mayor will be president;
council president will serve as secretary; and the council seat
currently held by Vawter will hold the position of treasurer. In
the adoption of the commission’s by-laws, the date of an annual
meeting was set for the second Monday of June. The council directed
DeVoe to obtain a federal tax identification number for the commission.
The council also heard from Santa Fe Trail High School Principal
Dave Swaim, who spoke about changes made at the high school to provide
more activities. Approximately three years ago, students came up
with the idea for homecoming week by holding a homecoming parade
on Oct. 2. Previously, the school parking was used for the parade,
but was determined to be too small. Students then decided to move
the parade to one of the communities within Santa Fe Trail school
district. Swain asked for the council’s permission to hold
the parade in Carbondale. He said that at next week’s school
board meeting, there will be a random drawing to see which community
is first to hold the parade; in the future it will be rotated from
community to community. The council approved allowing Carbondale’s
name to be put in a hat for a drawing. The council also approved
the purchase of school booster ads to be posted for school events.
Discussing utility issues, maintenance supervisor Kevin Richardson
reported that Lan-Tel, the company contracted to install the new
water line, will be in town Wednesday to complete items on the punch
list. He said the fence line on the Mercer property has been repaired,
but he has found another fence on the Decker property that needs
repair. Richardson will report this to the company for repair.
The council also heard from Larry Hinck who reported he had met
with a Westar representative in charge of moving power lines along
Hinck’s commercial property. He said Westar would move the
lines free of charge. He said Dollar General Store is looking at
a spring 2009 start date.
DeVoe reported she had reviewed the contract submitted by Kramer
Engineering for installing the sewer line along Hinck’s property
and said it appeared to be a standard contract. The cost submitted
is approximately $30,000. The council questioned if the city should
pursue another bid. After much discussion, the contract with Kramer
Engineering was approved.
In other business, the council:
• reviewed a lease contract submitted by Crossroads Wireless
for installation of a wireless communications antenna on the city’s
water tower. Council members agreed the amount the city was to receive
in the contract was too low. The council plans to negotiate with
the company, but expressed the city remains interested in having
the antenna installed.
• discussed a homeless person within the city who is using
public facilities. DeVoe reported that the city does not have a
loitering ordinance. No action was taken.
• approved renewal of a license for Southside Liquor.