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Seward County Commissioners discussed and then approved the job description for a new full-time civilian task force position for the sheriff’s department at its June 16 meeting.

The position, listed as a Homeland Security Investigations Criminal Interdiction task force coordinator, was brought forward to the board by Seward County Sheriff Mike Vance and operations manager Chelsea Smith.

According to the job description, the ideal individual would have supervisory responsibilities including “completing all paperwork necessary for processing the seizure of illegal narcotics, contraband and currency for illegal narcotics.” Other duties include serving as liaison between the sheriff and task force cases, attending any meeting with a task force counterpart and recording/reporting training records of other task force personnel.

Sheriff Mike Vance said the position will replace the temporary six-month interdiction task force training position previously held by former law enforcement officer Kendal Blake Swicord.

During the meeting, deputy county attorney Barb Armstead asked to add language clarifying what can and cannot be expected from the position, as a civilian would be working closely with law enforcement.

“Can they carry or not carry a weapon?” Armstead asked Vance. “What can be expected of them? You may want to put that in there.”

Darrell Zabrocki, a member of the public, shared his opinion during the discussion portion of the meeting, saying he was against the position and claimed it was clearly made for Swicord after the temporary position he held expired this month.

Zabrocki said following a meeting with Vance in late January, Vance promised that if Swicord were to lose his appeal for recertification in law enforcement in Nebraska, Vance would “have to let him go.”

Swicord lost his appeal May 13 in Hall County District Court. (For the full story, read the June 17 SCI issue.)

Vance clarified during the meeting that if Swicord does lose after bringing it to the appellate court, that would be the case. These type of appeals can take up to two years to be determined.

During the meeting, the board also:

• adopted a resolution to amend the Seward County 2019-2020 fiscal year budget to allow $25,000 to be transferred from the Sheriff's Drug Justice Fund to the Sheriff Department’s Drug Treasury Fund.

• authorized board chairman John Culver to sign an annual emergency protective custody agreement with Region V Systems.

• discussed operations regarding road improvements from East Seward Street to the Goldenrod Street intersection, as brought forward by Joel Navis and Brett Baker. Baker said the city has plans to pave the street east of the intersection and would like to see paving go all the way through the intersection. Commissioner Becky Paulsen said she would add some numbers together to see if the county can do a potential collaborative project with the city.

• approved any income from sold sheriff county patrol vehicles to be deposited into the department’s sinking fund.

• heard from Carmen Hinman of the Hope Crisis Center with an annual update and budget request for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

• went into executive session to discussed county sheriff personnel but no action was taken.

• authorized Seward County Highway Superintendent Terry Wicht to advertise for county road gravel and culvert bids, to be opened July 21.

• discussed agenda items for the June 23 commissioner meeting, which included possible changes to the Extension office and a contract discussion on grant writing/assistance for Seward County Bridges nonprofit.

Commissioners will next meet June 30 at 9 a.m. on the third floor of the Seward County Courthouse. This will be the last meeting open to the public via teleconference, as mandated by Gov. Pete Ricketts.

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