Seniors attend County Government Day, gain insight

Finding the unknown substance, the K-9 Unit drug dog finds the hidden rag smelling like methamphetamine. The rag was hidden with Sheriff Siebken as the dog scoured the outside of a van with Sgt. Anthony Whitmore searching for the material.

Nicole Buntgen, Co-Editor

Racking up approximately 40 juniors and seniors, Social Studies Teacher Amp Ferg gave seniors at David City High School the opportunity to attend County Government Day, an event held annually at the local courthouse in David City on Nov. 16.

Ferg said for the past two years he couldn’t even get ten students to consider signing up for the event. This year he had to cut half the students who wished to attend due to so many people expressing interest.

“I think it’s great. I think a lot of people really wanted to learn something, and I don’t think a lot of people went just to get out of school. But I think a majority of people had a connection,” Ferg said. “Their family was working in the courthouse or public office so they wanted to go. I think, maybe, with the upcoming election, and people like Donald Trump and Jeb Bush, hopefully that will spark some interest in people.”

The day launched with students from DCHS, Aquinas, and East Butler gathered in the courtroom as Louise Niemann recited information on County Government Day and what the day would consist of. Following was a powerpoint presentation highlighting key points of the event.

Students then stepped outside into the parking lot for a drug dog presentation by Sgt. Anthony Whitmore. The demonstration consisted of hiding a rag which smelled like methamphetamine in a shoe as the drug dog circled a van with Sheriff Siebken searching for the stimulant.

“It was cool. It was both more aggressive and less aggressive than I thought. The dog wasn’t viciously tearing at the van but it was still going at it,” senior Riven Prochaska said.

After the presentation, students then dismissed into separate groups where they had the opportunity to shadow various kinds of positions held by members of the courthouse. Positions students shadowed expanded all the way from a Butler County Sheriff to a County FSA Chairperson.

Shadowing then lead to more break-out groups where students toured the detention center and had the chance to see the environment and circumstances convicts must live in. Ferg said the jail tour is always a favorite among students.

“Touring the jail was my favorite part. I got a tour when it was first built in 2004 and I wanted to see how much it’s changed. They got a new fingerprint scanner and I think it’s cool that it’s connected with the world’s largest fingerprint base,” senior Morgan Hoeft said. “Those people living in the jail lose all privacy. I couldn’t do that.”

The day finally winded down at Winfields where Sgt. Maschmeier provided information to students regarding the National Guard. A flag-folding demonstration was then performed followed by pizza and desserts to conclude the day.

“County Government Day has really improved the past couple of years. The structure is set up really well; it’s set up to where I don’t think you get too bored of doing one thing,” Ferg said. “It seems students are actually more informed of our county government.”