Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fairfield can’t find patrol partner

Please contact your commissioners and ask them to reconsider giving the Sheriff's Dept more money! This is important to our safety!!

January 12, 2011 - By TOM GIAMBRONI
LISBON - Columbiana County Sheriff Ray Stone was disappointed to learn Fairfield Township trustees had dropped efforts to contract with his office for extra police coverage.
Trustee Barry Miner reported this week they were unable to find another township to partner with to help pay the $65,000 per year needed to pay for the cost of assigning a deputy full-time to patrol both townships. Miner had contacted trustees in Knox and Unity townships about joining with them to share the expense, but both declined to participate in the venture at this time.
Stone has been looking for ways to put more deputies on the road since taking office in September 2008 without incurring any additional expense because county commissioners have declined to provide him with extra funding to add several deputies.
That's why he was encouraged when Fairfield and Knox townships expressed interest in contracting with his office for extra police coverage. Stone believes such an arrangement could have worked, even if Fairfield and Knox townships had gone together, despite the 12 miles between both townships.
"It would have been better if the townships were next door (like Fairfield and Unity) but it still would have worked (between Fairfield and Knox)," he said.
If the contract was between adjoining townships, the deputy could easily spend the entire 40-hour week patrolling both townships. Stone said if Fairfield and Knox townships had contracted with him he would have likely scheduled the deputy 16 hours per week in one township and 24 hours in the other township, rotating the schedule on a weekly basis.
"It could have worked," he said.
Miner said Knox Township indicated to him the distance between the townships was a problem and they would prefer to contract with an adjoining township so the deputy could spend everyday paroling both townships instead of on an alternating basis.
Stone has been able to add two deputies to the road patrol by changing how he deploys his staff but that's about as far as he can go without any additional money from commissioners, who provided him with same level of funding as 2010.
The sheriff's office is likely going to need additional funding this year to cover an anticipated pay raise for its employees, who agreed to a pay freeze in 2010 under a three-year contract approved by Stone and commissioners. The contract contained a wage reopener clause for 2011, and negotiations are expected to begin soon.
The auditor's office reported last week the county general funded ended the year with a $1.2 million balance.

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