Reallocation of Police Patrol Resources Turned Down

We’re blogging live from the town board meeting.

A budget amendment, which would reallocate police staffing resources from patrol to management positions, failed this evening in Elkton.  Commissioners Piner and Jablonski voted to shift the funds, while Mayor Fisona and Commissioners Givens and Storke joined together to oppose the recommendation.  The mayor said that at another time he might favor it, but right now, with the increase in crime, he wanted his resources concentrated in the field. This was an unusual line up for the board, since the mayor usually votes with Commissioners Jablonski and Piner.  The proposal would have allowed the Elkton Police Department to exchange two field positions for two management posts, a lieutenant and a Deputy Chief.

Later in the session crime was on the minds of a number of citizens as they addressed the commissioners during the public comments section.  Paula Newton, president of the Historical Society, talked about the environment downtown and said there was a need for more of a police presence on Main Street.  She said that the occasional presence of a patrol officer would help deter some of the problems they’re encountering downtown.

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2 responses to “Reallocation of Police Patrol Resources Turned Down

  1. Joe thanks for watching this. You were looking out for us downtown this time. We need those cops on the street in all the areas. You to Charlie and Gary. With all the stuff thats happening, we need patrolling cops more then ever.

  2. Watchin Joe

    Indeed “Watchin Joe,” the mayor was voting for the best interest of the downtown community, as well as every neighborhood in town. We never understood the rationale between giving up two budgeted patrol positions for funding positions for executives, given today’s economic climate and the financial resources today. We also thought a Main Street Manager would have been the lead advocate for keeping officers on patrol.

    The was an unusual alignment this time. Mayor Fisona and Commissioner Storke were looking out for the patrol positions, while Commissioners Jablonski and Piner lead the charge to create management positions. Commissioner Piner talked about not seeing a correlation with foot patrols and crime reduction, while Commissioner Jablonski wondered why they were having a discussion on a budget amendment. They usually just vote on it at a regular board meeting, without discussion! They also discussed how department head recommendations should be supported since they aren’t professionals in the various disciplines.

    We’ve heard the arguments outside the town council about why this was a good idea in the past few days and about the nature of the problem downtown, but none of those justifications answered the one question that was before the board. Should we give up two budgeted positions for patrol officers for two budgeted management positions?

    . Well it was only budgeted positions!

    . Those patrol positions are for several years in the future. (Remember the question, does the town give up money allocated for positions that puts officers on the road for police executives? If there are issues about staffing those positions, move forward and staff them as soon as possible.)

    . We’re saving money in the budget! (I’m not sure about that and it would take independent verification, but some were told that downtown).

    . But the problem is . . . (they’d mention specific property owners & social issues). (Could be right about some of those, but that wasn’t the question they were voting on, Wednesday evening)

    When the vote was called Commissioner Givens joined the mayor in voting against the option.

    This is not to say that the chief couldn’t use more executives. It’s just the reality with the current financial resources. Perhaps next year there will be enough money for lots more patrol personnel and some additional executive positions for we’re sure the department needs more staffing.

    We’re just amazed with how this vote lined up and then the arguments that were used by the politial leadership as they talked to their constiuents.

    But for now, if we were the spokesperson for the downtown business community, we could have only argued in support of keeping patrol staffing on the streets. Interesting arguments and alignments on this one.

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