BLACKFOOT – Bingham County commissioners heard from Sheriff Craig Rowland and Public Works Director Dusty Whited Wednesday morning regarding updates in their departments.

Sheriff Rowland began with discussing a sting operation in conjunction with the Fort Hall Police Department regarding drugs on the reservation.

Rowland said the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes requested Bingham County’s aid on a drug sting in efforts to get drugs out of the reservation. According to Rowland, every vehicle that was stopped and searched was positive for drugs. He did not pull punches when explaining that there was a high level of drug activity on the reservation at this point, and stated that it would be a good idea in the future to involve more local forces to make a much larger impact on the illicit activities.

He expressed the need for nearly 40 more officers and as many drug dogs as possible to ensure that they can cover more ground quickly. He also explained that it would require the tribes to ask the other sheriff’s offices and city police departments to join.

Rowland also stated that they were asked to bring one of their drug dogs through the casino. He noted that they chose to use their most friendly dog to do so, and it found quite a bit of drugs in employees’ lockers and on persons. He made comment that on the monitors, it was possible to see people heading to their lockers and getting things out and heading to the restroom.

PUBLIC WORKS

Continued work on the new county shop brings more challenges for Public Works. Whited met with the commissioners to explain the next few steps of what will be happening out at the new shop location in conjunction with the Central Transfer Station.

Currently, they are working on running new fiber lines to the scale house and the transfer station in efforts to provide a more stable internet connection to the location. Prior to the new fiber lines, network speeds in those locations have been compared to the days of dial-up internet connections and having faster network speeds may increase the speed which they can process traffic coming to and going from the transfer station.

Originally, they had it planned to run the fiber lines underground because the cost of acquiring new poles to run it overground was substantially higher. However, the county already had poles from a previous project that were not being utilized and will save money on trenching the lines because they can use these poles instead. Whited expressed interest in doing so and was given the green light.

Whited also asked about requesting a prior approval on running electrical to their open-air shops to allow trucks to be plugged in and covered without bringing them into the new shops. He wants to make these spaces available and usable for the salt trucks to try and keep the corrosive salts off the newly poured shop floors in the new shop location. The hope is to create a safe location to park these trucks, plug them in at night, and prevent any unnecessary wear-and-tear on the new facility.

Although no decision was made on this, the lowest bid came in at just over $18,000.