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“The Case for Eight”: Embracing safety and community growth

As we enter the new year, Fort Dodge is taking steps to actively address its challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth and community resilience. After experiencing a significant increase in targeted crime and negative media coverage, the city is taking a bold and constructive step towards improving public safety and enhancing the quality of life for its residents.

At the core of this mission is the strategic decision to strengthen the Fort Dodge Police Department in an initiative called “The Case for Eight”. By adding eight new officers to the existing force, the city is demonstrating its commitment to not just maintaining, but enhancing public safety. This increase isn’t just a number; it represents a significant stride towards a safer, more secure Fort Dodge.

Aligned with the vision of the City Council and the Greater Fort Dodge Growth Alliance, “The Case for Eight” is a proactive response to the city’s challenges. These additional officers will do more than patrol the streets; they will be integral in forging stronger, trust-based relationships between the police and the community. This approach is pivotal in creating an environment where safety and community welfare are intertwined.

The benefits of this initiative are multifaceted. More officers mean enhanced patrol presence, leading to a safer environment for everyone. They bring essential resources for real-time investigation and proactive crime prevention, particularly effective in addressing the city’s specific issue of targeted crime. Their role in disrupting the cycle of illicit activities, especially drug trafficking, is invaluable in fostering a healthier community.

What makes “The Case for Eight” even more commendable is its sustainable funding model. The implementation of a modest 5 percent franchise fee on gas and electric customers is a forward-thinking solution. This fee, set against Fort Dodge’s competitive gas and electric rates, is a wise investment in public safety and community development.

Generating $2.4 million annually, the 5 percent franchise fee on gas and electric customers not only supports the new police staffing, but also aids in maintaining essential community programs and infrastructure improvements while allowing the City to offset the current debt services levy. Importantly, the net effect of this fee on the average gas and electric residential customer is remarkably manageable, amounting to just $2.86 per month. This modest increase in utility costs is a small price for the significant benefits it brings to the city.

“The Case for Eight” plan successfully balances safety needs with economic practicality. This decision marks a new chapter for the city, where safety, community engagement, and growth are given the utmost importance. Fort Dodge is not only tackling crime, but also building a strong foundation for a thriving, secure, and united community.

Matt Bemrich is the mayor of Fort Dodge.

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