Letter to the Editor: Rethink purpose of Public Safety Center

To the Editor:
Catfish Annie here and I’m officially spitting out the hook! What happens when the citizens of this county are not informed by elected officials about the reality of decisions being made on their behalf? Although they may blindly try to avoid fish nets, they can end up on a hook.
Here’s the bait, as I smell it. We have the opportunity to demolish Makee Manor and dispose of that building. Believe me, the asbestos alone is a serious environmental and health hazard. Why haven’t those costs been included in the estimates for a new law enforcement center, or “public safety center,” on that site?
The February 11, 2015 front page article by Bob Beach indicates there has been a determination by our Board of Supervisors that options for persons in crisis not be included in the “public safety center.” Based on the information I am getting as a member of several State boards and Regional Councils, this is likely to lead to individuals in a mental health crisis becoming involved in the very costly judicial system. I personally know of cases where persons in crisis were sent to jail from hospital emergency rooms because there were no other options.
Any citizen of Allamakee County experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis should be offered the opportunity to find their way to safety and recovery. Those of us previously referred to as “bottom feeders” used to just jump into that dark water and do our jobs.
There are “core services” all Regions in the State of Iowa are required to provide and one of them is Peer Support Specialists (PSS). Unfortunately, the PSS workforce is under-employed and/or poorly paid. These are trained, available professionals who are often working on a volunteer basis.
I would like to thank our Board of Supervisors in advance for their continuing efforts on trying to make a difference. I am asking them to rethink the definition and purpose of the “Public Safety Center.”
Additionally, I am suggesting they explore the possibility of expanding the Conservation Park adjacent to the Makee Manor property. With the Waukon City Park and Campground tangled up in the commercial nets of residential development and industry, having an expanded recreational area could result in snagging tourists and visitors to our county.
Oh, and I really don’t bite...

“Catfish Annie”
(aka, Ann A. Gallagher,