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Sioux Falls says park’s safety reviews are oral, not written

April 13, 2018

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Sioux Falls doesn’t have any written reports of safety reviews conducted over the last decade for a park where several people have drowned, most recently last month.

City Hall issued a news release Thursday saying Falls Park safety reviews “were conducted orally, and no written reports were prepared for the city,” the Argus Leader reported . The announcement followed the newspaper’s request for a 2016 safety audit cited after 5-year-old Maggie Zaiger drowned at the park on March 19.

City officials used the safety audit to defend the park’s safety protocol and to argue against making any changes. The newspaper discovered last month that the 2016 audit cited was a training exercise conducted for employees of the city’s insurance company.

City Emergency Manager Regan Smith said he erred in calling the review an audit when addressing the media after Maggie’s death. The insurance company relayed its findings to the city orally, he said.

The newspaper also requested documents two weeks ago from safety protocol reviews conducted after two people drowned at the park in 2013. Sioux Falls Parks Director Don Kearney cited the 2013 reviews last month as well as evidence that the park’s safety measures are adequate after the March drowning.

Sioux Falls reviews park safety annually using a loss control consultant hired by the city’s insurance company, according to the Thursday release.

Doug Kirkus is the Safety Benefits Inc. loss control consultant who conducted the annual assessments. Kirkus declined to comment citing client confidentiality with the city’s insurance company.

He said he has “not sent any reports to the city.”

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Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com

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