Commissioners talk procedures dealing with threats to employees

It is a situation that could possible get out of control and that has been getting worse during the past 1 1/2-2 years: threats to county employees are a concern for the County Commission and  members are discussing the matter with the Sheriff and Prosecuting Attorney.

Sparking the discussion were recent incidents where a county road employee was using a equipment to trim trees and brush away from the roadway and were threaten by a property owner.

“What was said was, ‘I’ll go get my rifle,’” Road and Bridge Foreman Rick Turner told the commission at its regular meeting last Thursday. “I just told the employee to stop and get out of there.”

The discussion was led by Iron County Sheriff Roger Medley who ask the commission to consider a procedure to handle such incidents in the future.

He presented a suggested procedure to the commission for its input. Prosecuting Attorney Brian Parker will also be consulted on the process.

“If a county employee is threatened, I think they need to leave the area, and call us,” the sheriff suggested.  “They don’t say anything, they just leave.”

“This isn’t the only time this has happened,” said Presiding Commissioner Jim Scaggs, “and I’ve had enough.”

Scaggs related an incident where a county resident resident threatened county workers and later came into the courthouse yelling his dissatisfaction laced with obscenities.

“I stepped out and confronted him and said, that is it,” Scaggs said.  “You are not going to talk that way. No more.”

Another issue discussed was a person blocking the road with a dump truck.  Still another resident actually blocked off a county road with a cable.

Said Scaggs, “Citizens don’t have the right to attack or threaten county employees while the employees are doing their job.  If we let this go on too long, I’m afraid something is going to happen.”

“What causes 90 percent of the problems is that certain citizens believe that county roads along their property is owned by them to the center of the road,” said Turner.

“We need a document and policy in place,” the sheriff said.

The matter will be revisited at a future meeting.