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Village Manager: Disband police department

SILVERTON, Ohio (Angenette Levy) -- The village of Silverton could disband its police department and contract with the sheriff's office for patrol and investigative services at a potential savings of $55,000 per year.

Village Manager Tom Carroll unveiled his proposal to a crowd of residents Monday night. In 2012, Silverton had 10 police officers. Now the village has five including the police chief.

"It's been very difficult where it's almost bordering on impossible these days," said Silverton Police Chief Bruce Molett.

Carroll said a "perfect storm" of events contributed to the village not hiring new officers including budget problems and a change in administration.  He also said some officers left when Silverton lost its designation as a city. Silverton became a village when its population fell below 5,000. That caused the police department to lose its union. Carroll said rebuilding the police department would require a property or income tax increase.

"We can't afford to have the police department in house that we had two years ago. That would cost us about another quarter million -a little less than a quarter million dollars a year that we simply don't have," Carroll said.

Contracting with the sheriff's office would not require a tax increase. Carroll said it could save more than $55,000 per year which could be used to repair roads.  Since last June, Silverton has contracted with the sheriff's office to provide two deputies to patrol from 3 a.m. to 7 a.m.  The village council could also decide to keep police officers and contract with the sheriff for additional patrol services which could cost the village an additional $20,777 per year.  The sheriff would hire Silverton's officers if awarded the contract.

Some residents at the meeting said they would not support a tax increase and liked the idea that officers would keep their jobs if the sheriff took over patrols.

"I feel more secure the fact that our officers will be able to have something more secure on down the line in the law enforcement so I'm good with it," said Donald Kincaid.

Stephanie Mihalek, who's lived in Silverton for 18 years, said she would support a tax hike.

"I would support a tax increase whether we rebuild our police department or go with the sheriff's department," Mihalek said.

Sheriff Jim Neil and others on his command staff attended the meeting. Neil said his office can help Silverton accomplish its goals.

"What we bring to assist the chief is resources and that includes human resources," said Sheriff Jim Neil.

A second public hearing will be held on Wednesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria of Silverton Paideia School.

To read the village manager's report click here.

Watch video HERE

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