NEW MADISON – At Monday’s Village of New Madison Council Meeting, a new proposal by the Darke County Sheriff’s Office was approved to protect the village.
According to Fiscal Officer Roberta Hocker, the village has $27,000 for the Police Levy, that must be used for protection. The new proposal from the Sheriff’s Office is for about $22,900 if used for the rest of the year, as it is a month-to-month contract. It includes 40 hours a month, plus a vehicle.
Council plans to revisit the coverage, monthly, to evaluate its effectiveness in the village.
A discussion preceded the accepting of the new proposal. Based on Darke County Sheriff Toby Spencer’s recommendation, Mayor Lisa Garland said she reached out to the Village of Gettysburg, to see about combining funds to increase the amount of protection for both villages.
“Depending on our funds and the audit outcome, if we combined our levy money, maybe we could do something different than what we are doing right now and what Gettysburg is doing with the Sheriff’s Auxiliary,” she said.
“The Sheriff’s Department does not do anything within any of these villages unless they are paid?” Councilwoman Patty Jackson asked.
“They are required to answer 911 calls,” Council President Doolin said.
“If we didn’t contract with them, we would get nothing but 911 service,” Mayor Garland said. “We have to use this levy for some type of police protection.”
Councilwoman Nancy Hill said she would like to see a log of the Sheriff’s time spent in the village.
Mayor Lisa Garland said between Jan. 3 and Feb. 10, the Sheriff’s Office had patrolled New Madison for 74 hours, 29 minutes and 43 seconds, without any reimbursement from the village.
“I’m waiting on a report to see how many incidents actually happened within that time,” she said.
Councilwoman Monyca Schlechty said she was curious to know how much time was spent on a call.
“I want to know how much we need them,” she said. “I want to line that up with what they have received from them already.”
“We can hire someone at $12.50 an hour, which was my old plan,” Councilwoman Hill said.
Councilwoman Nancy Vietor warned that more of a bad element will move into town without police protection.
Some visitors made some remarks about the discussion, such as former New Madison Mayor Steve Eadler’s widow, Lisa. She addressed the mayor and council on her late husband’s behalf. She said he was proud of the police department and the protection it gave the village.
“I believe it is important to keep open minds as representatives of New Madison and the citizens you serve,” she said. “I would hope no final decision to permanently disband the Police Department is made at the time, and to maintain a vehicle and equipment that one day may be utilized again. I have lived here for 30 years and I call New Madison my home. I am a committee member for the Fourth of July and 5k events. We hosted over 100 plus participants last year in the 5k and thousands for the fireworks. Those events and others take place and bring people to New Madison. We have always had the police support when asked. What are we to expect as far as police support for the events going forward?”
Mayor Lisa Garland said the Sheriff’s Office will cover whatever needs the village has in excess of the contract that council agrees upon.
“The money that is in the Police Levy fund, is not enough to maintain the equipment, and officers,” she said.
The discussion turned to selling the items that belonging to the New Madison Police Department, such as vehicles, clothing, Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs), radios, guns, ammunititon and tasers. Dean Miller, former New Madison Police Chief spoke his opinion.
“I will have to say that with my knowledge and past experience, I would encourage the council and mayor to at least hang onto all the property at least for a year, until you re-evaluate things,” he said. “I also would encourage the council and the mayor, that obviously there is support to have a local police department, so I think you would have no other choice but to leave it up to the voters of this community to pass an additional levy. I think you should give the citizens the opportunity to do that.”
Since the SUV has one more payment of $13,000 due, the council approved to sell the Dodge through a legal advertisement.
The writer may be reached at 937-569-4354. Join the conversation and get updates on Facebook search Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.
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