Minnehaha County law enforcement will get a boost in 2017 according to the budget passed on Tuesday.

With a deadline of September 30 of finalizing spending for next year, Commissioners as a whole accepted the spending framework which will have room to hire two additional deputies. Commissioner Jeff Barth indicates the importance of public safety keeping up with the expanding citizen population.

"Police these days are under increasing scrutiny and extra pressure. Our county is not getting fewer people. At 2:00 AM for a bar fight in Colton or Valley Springs you need backup. Those Sheriff’s deputies need to be safe. I don’t want them overstressed, overtired, or overworked.”

Still looming is the need for additional jail space and Barth says by delaying decisions, the cost per square foot will continue increasing.

“We’re looking at a $45 million expenditure. It’s already going to be a smaller addition with the same price. It was $45 million for 400 cells. Now it’s $45 million for 310 cells. It’s an issue that (it doesn’t matter) whether we need today or not. We’re going to need it.”

Barth anticipates that a decision to expand the jail may yet come before the end of this year.

As the election draws near, the Minnehaha County Commission will have at least one new member as Dick Kelly did not advance out of the June Republican primary.

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