Commission prioritizes mental health initiatives to improve emergency response – The Dickinson Press
Commission prioritizes mental health initiatives to improve emergency response – The Dickinson Press

MANNING, North Dakota — On Friday, March 22, 2024, the Dunn County Commission held a meeting that highlighted wide-ranging community concerns and administration adjustments. The agenda spanned discussions from rodeo holidays to mental health issues and included a notable change in leadership at a key county department.

The session began with a tribute to local traditions as the Killdeer Saddle Club received its annual gaming license for the anticipated events at the Killdeer Rodeo Arena. Similarly, the Hilltop Heritage Foundation has secured a gaming license for the 50/50 raffle, promising an exciting start to July in tandem with the Saddle Club.

Then the conversation turned to more serious topics. Sandy Rhode of Vision West of North Dakota emphasized the importance of the upcoming June 19-20, 2024 Behavioral Health Summit.

“Everybody knows that mental health is a hot topic and a big issue in this country,” Rhode said, stressing the importance and urgency of the meeting.

Dr. Drew Pinsky spoke Thursday, September 6, at the ND Behavioral Health Conference in Fargo.  Michael Vosburg / Forum News

Dr. Drew Pinsky spoke at a previous conference.

Dickinson Press File Photo.

In response to Rhode’s presentation, the commission approved a $7,500 sponsorship for the event, reaffirming the county’s commitment to confronting mental health challenges.

The meeting also delved into an operational obstacle affecting the effectiveness of emergency response. Sarah Duttenhefner pointed out discrepancies between the 911 mapping system and the navigation tools used by deputies.

“These mapping services are not always up to date with the Sandy response map,” Duttenhefner noted, highlighting the gap in emergency services.

According to the Dunn County Sheriff's Office, the newly acquired patrol vehicles are full-size SUVs with larger fuel tanks, passenger capacity and equipment to better manage the rural population spread across 2,082 square miles.  Photo courtesy of the Dunn County Sheriff's Office

Dunn County hopes to address the issues in their address database by updating their system.

Dickinson Press File Photo.

To address this issue, the committee considered a solution that included providing first responders with access to a unified mapping system at a cost of $5,512. The move aims to improve the timeliness and accuracy of emergency response.

A significant transition within the office of the Dunn County Tax Director was also discussed. Nicole Carlson announced her resignation as Dunn County Tax Director, effective April 1, 2024, and named Holly Hutchison as her successor. Hutchison, deputy director of tax equalization, has served in the department for eight years and will now lead it.

In his statement, Carlson expressed his confidence in Hutchison’s abilities. “Holly has been an important asset to the tax director’s office over the past eight years,” she said, confirming Hutchison’s readiness to take on the leadership role.

Dunn County

Interim Auditor Sally Whittingham and Commissioner Tracy Dolezal.

Dickinson Press File Photo.

Commissioner JoAnn Marsh reflects on her experiences with Carlson and Hutchison. “I believe Holly is doing well with what’s going on in this office,” Marsh concluded, supporting the transition.

To view the full meeting, you can visit the Dunn County Youtube channel here.

Harrison L. Parrish

From the dirt roads of nowhere in Arizona, where I grew up on a family farm not a stone’s throw from the river, to the open plains of North Dakota, I hope to foster the small-town feel of Dickinson that I’ve already come to love. Whether it’s connecting with a breeder on their out-of-town acreage or attending the latest community gathering, I’m thrilled to share updates on our community’s happenings. In doing so, I strive to become a valued member of the historic communities that grace the beautiful land we call home.

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