Better tools to help rescue people trapped in their vehicle or residence are on the way.

At its Tuesday meeting, the Alexandria City Council approved Alexandria Fire Chief Jeff Karrow’s request to purchase $34,715 in Hurst edraulics equipment from Alex Air Apparatus.

The lighter, more maneuverable equipment, referred to as “cutters and spreaders,” will help firefighters extricate victims in vehicles that go off the road. It will also be used to open hoods in vehicle fires.

The fire department performs about 30 vehicle extrications a year, Karrow said.

The funds for the equipment will come out of the city’s Capital Improvement Program, which has a balance of about $486,000.

The fire department also received a $2,500 grant toward the equipment from 3M’s cybergrants program. The council voted to accept the donation.

In another action, the council approved Karrow’s request to allow four firefighters to attend the Fire Department Instructor Conference in Indianapolis next April. The cost is about $695 per firefighter, plus hotel and expenses, and might be reimbursed through the Minnesota Board of Firefighter Training and Education.

The conference draws about 35,000 firefighters and more than 1,000 vendors. It provides hands-on courses, classroom lectures and a look at new equipment.

Turkey Day 5K, Santa Shop Hop

The council issued a special permit to the Alexandria Area YMCA for its seventh annual Turkey Day 5K on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 28.

The event will start at 8 a.m. and end at the YMCA, using County Road 22, Central Lakes Trail and West Cowdry Road. It will benefit the YMCA’s Strong Kids program and scholarships.

The Downtown Merchants Association also received a special event permit for its Santa’s Shop Hop/Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The event includes carriage rides in the public parking lot between Fillmore Street and 5th Avenue from noon to 4 p.m.

Police department hiring

Alexandria Police Chief Rick Wyffels will be filling a vacancy in the department. Officer Matt Carlson is resigning on Nov. 12 to take a job with the Lino Lakes Police Department to be closer to his family.

Wyffels thanked Carlson for all his work and dedication during the last seven to eight years and Carlson received a standing ovation from those attending the meeting.

“It was an honor to serve the community,” Carlson said. “It’s something I will cherish the rest of my life.”

The department has an active list of candidates from the last hiring process,Wyffels said.

There is no financial impact to the city, other than a few weeks of having one less position in the department.

Viking Lakes Cooperative update

City Planner Mike Weber gave the council an update on its Oct. 14 action that directed city staff to research the use of revenue bonds to repair and replace private water and sewer lines at the Viking Lakes Mobile Home Park.

The park formed a cooperative to obtain the bonds and the city would act as a conduit for the bonds with no financial obligation.

After researching the possibility, city staff, the economic development commission and the city HRA determined that the HRA is the appropriate agency to be the conduit for the bonds.

The Alexandria HRA Board agreed to the action at its Nov. 12 meeting.

Violent crimes task force

The council approved a new joint powers agreement for the West Central Minnesota Drug and Violent Crimes Task Force.

The agreement is the same as other years, except that Pelican Rapids is no longer a member.

The members include Douglas, Becker, Otter Tail, Grant, Pope and Wadena counties, and the cities of Alexandria, Glenwood, Starbuck, Fergus Falls, Wadena and Detroit Lakes.

The purpose of the task force is to coordinate and strengthen efforts to identify, apprehend and prosecute drug-related offenders.