MVPD defends not answering medical calls, cites risk—COVID, hepatitis

Ethan Gray

At the Mt. Vernon Board of Aldermen meeting on Feb. 13, the city police department was reprimanded by the board for not responding to medical calls, specifically scolded by Alderman Logan Phillips, who is also a firefighter.
Mt. Vernon Chief of Police Dave Hubert addressed the issue while giving his departmental report. The board asked Hubert why such a thing would be happening, and he responded that it was because of medical safety.
“My take on that is, why should we put our officers at risk for COVID, hepatitis, and all the other stuff when the ambulance is taking care of that,” Hubert said.
“We’ve had three incidents in the last month,” said Phillips.
Hubert stated that he believed that Mt. Vernon wasn’t the only agency with that policy.
“As far as I know, most law enforcement agencies don’t respond to med calls; fire departments do,” said Hubert.
Phillips, however, didn’t relent.
“We’ve got people on the ground requesting help, and the ambulance is coming from Carthage; it’s pretty pathetic that we don’t show up to that,” said Phillips.
New city police cars
Hubert, during his time at the podium also spoke about the long-awaited patrol cars that were ordered over two years ago. Hubert relayed that one of the cars had been canceled and one was ready for pickup, but an interesting opportunity had come up in the meantime. Jasper County had ordered multiple cars, but when they arrived, they declined two of the police interceptors.
Hubert asked permission to buy two of those cars, which the board approved. The new cars have yet to be outfitted with any gear, and that will cost extra, according to Hubert.
In other business
- Alderman Sherie Thrasher presented a report from the MARC committee detailing their decision to update rental fees for the building. She said that the fees would now be doubled from the current rate, except for the kitchen, which would remain unchanged. Reservations can no longer be made two years in advance. The rates to rent the MARC on holidays would be double the agreed-upon rate. According to Thrasher, Mt. Vernon’s high school drama club currently uses the MARC for performances but does not pay a fee; this was changed. Now it is required that the drama club and groups like them must pay. These recommendations were accepted unanimously by the board.
- City Administrator Joe Kelley brought news of a bid offer to the board for fuel to be used in city vehicles. The city opened bids for city-owned vehicles but did not receive any bids, so they reached out to Wilmoth Enterprises, who is the current fuel supplier. They agreed to honor the terms of their previous deal with the city, extending it.
- Lastly, Kelley spoke of the 2021 winter vortex, during which the board voted to use electric reserve funds to cover costs. To reimburse this, they raised the fuel adjustment charge to one and three-quarter cents. They expected this to pay off over the course of five years, but now, about two years ahead of schedule, the reserve account is reimbursed and the fuel adjustment charge will return to normal.



Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


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