A Walbridge council committee last night heard a proposal from the Lake Township police chief to have the village contract with the township for police protection.
Under the plan Chief Danny LaDuke presented, the village would have around-the-clock police protection. Lake Township police would take over dispatching operations being handled now by village police.
The plan was given to safety committee members Patrick Fox and Traci Taylor. Council member Dan Wilczynski, who is a member of the committee, was out of town and could not attend the meeting.
Before hearing Chief LaDuke's proposal, Mr. Fox said he would like input from residents, possibly in the form of a survey, on disbanding police operations and hiring another department.
“Do we know whether the residents want to do away with the police department?” he asked. “I think we should poll the residents of the village.”
Chief LaDuke, who is a village resident, said the township would take over dispatching, police protection, and other department-related services for $335,846 a year. Walbridge handles police and fire dispatching for itself, Rossford, and Lake Township.
Lake Township pays 45 per cent of the village's $223,000 annual dispatching costs. Rossford pays 40 per cent of the cost, which includes the salaries of four full-time and five part-time dispatchers.
Chief LaDuke said the township could operate the village dispatch operations for $200,000 a year, using a minimum of six dispatchers. The township would hire an additional three full-time officers. Chief LaDuke said officers would be assigned solely for patrol duties in the village and up to two other officers could come into the village if needed.
The village would have to pay a one-time cost of $11,000 to cover township expenses for new uniforms, equipment, and testing for hiring the additional officers.
“This proposal is not written in stone. This is not going to happen over night. I am not here to ruin anybody's lives,” Chief LaDuke said.
The township would want to take ownership of the village police cars and other department equipment.
Mrs. Taylor said previously she is concerned about officers and dispatchers losing their jobs if the department is dropped. After the meeting, she said the proposal would be given to the other council members at the Nov. 15 meeting. She said she would like to have a public hearing to gather input from residents as well as the survey that Mr. Fox suggested.