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It took deputies 2 hours to respond to a domestic during a blizzard. Now the sheriff's buying a plow

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Sgt. Tim Briggeman of the Cass County Sheriff's Office walks through blustery conditions to check on a vehicle along 19th Avenue Northwest on April 12. Forum file photo
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FARGO — Cass County Sheriff Jesse Jahner said he was "nervous" during the raging Dec. 29 blizzard when his department had a call from a woman in the rural part of the county who said she and her young child were hiding in the bathroom from her husband during a domestic dispute.

"I was praying nothing would happen to her," he told the commissioners at the meeting on Monday, Jan. 6, as he made a request for additional funding to buy a front-mounted V-plow snow blade for one of his department's pickups to cut down on delays in responding to public safety calls.

He said it could help eliminate having to call for a county or state plow during an emergency such as the domestic dispute.

Jahner said the 911 call from the woman came after she was physically assaulted by her husband and as he was trying to break down the bathroom door at about 8:35 p.m.

Deputies who were attempting to rush to the scene couldn't make it because of the blocked roads.

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Jahner said he then requested a snowplow from the county highway department, which sent an employee in a pickup with a front-mounted snow blade who was able to plow a path to the home.

However, he said it took two hours before they finally arrived at 10:35 p.m.

Jahner said he was concerned about the safety of the snowplow operator, as the suspect could have had a weapon.

Another example, he wrote in a letter to the commissioners before the meeting, was from during the same storm when the Good Samaritan Center in Arthur requested medical assistance for a resident there. Because of the blocked roads, the state highway department had to be called to escort the ambulance to the scene, once again delaying response time.

The sheriff said he had budgeted this year for a snowplow attachment, but after seeing the way the county highway department's v-plow blade worked, they thought that would be a better solution. However, he needed an additional $3,487 to purchase it at a cost of $7,337.

Since last January, there have been three major snowstorms where it would have been useful in an emergency, Jahner said.

"I believe that we need to become more self-sufficient in responding to public safety issues in these types of conditions," he wrote in that letter.

The commissioners unanimously approved the request.

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Metro area residents dig out from the weekend storm on Monday, Dec. 30. David Samson / The Forum

An almost 50-year veteran of the newspaper business, Amundson has worked for The Forum and Forum News Service for 15 years. He started as a sport reporter in Minnesota. He is currently the city and night reporter for The Forum. bamundson@forumcomm.com 701-451-5665
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