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Police transition: Sheriff's deputies to patrol village

SILVERTON, Ohio (Joe Webb) -- The Silverton police department has made its last run.

But that didn't mean the village of about 5,000 people was without police protection.  The Hamilton County sheriff's department absorbed the village's officers and it will be moving some operations into Silverton's old headquarters.

The Silverton municipal building is now the home of the sheriff's department's, newly-created district four.  24 deputies will be based there to cover Silverton and Columbia Township.  Silverton's four police employees will still be working they just changed jobs and uniforms.

At one o'clock Thursday afternoon, Sheriff Jim Neill swore in three new deputies.  Former Silverton officers Allison and Hickey will patrol for the sheriff.  Former Silverton clerk Katherine Hayes will move into administration.  After 102 years, the Silverton police department was officially off duty.  There's a new sheriff in town and village leaders said it was a win-win for the families of Silverton.

Silverton Village Manager, Tom Carroll, said, "Starting today, we'll be able to have more police presence in Silverton from a larger agency at a lower cost than we are able to provide by ourselves.  So we have more resources through the contract with Sheriff Neill at a lower expense."
    
Carroll said the village will save at least $125,000 a year.  They've had trouble keeping officers since the downgrade from city to village a few years ago took away police collective bargaining.  The current chief will keep his cruiser and be a liaison to the sheriff for two years.
     
There is always opposition when town's contract out police service.  Thursday, Local 12 couldn't find it on the streets of Silverton.  Richard and Charlene Hunter have lived in Silverton since 1962.  He was mayor for 14 years.  He was sad to see the police go but OK with it.

Richard Hunter said, "I think it will be as safe.  In the presentation that the sheriff made he contends the officers will actually have more time on the street now than they did previously."
     
Carol Agler has lived in Silverton for 25 years.  She took time from cutting her grass to weigh in on the changes, "More people they can turn to with assistance. Investigators, K-9 units, traffic control with any number of things the sheriff's department's offers that we didn't have privy to before."
 
The sheriff's office said it was not recruiting villages to do the same thing but was available to provide service anywhere in the county.  Thirteen townships in Hamilton County contract with the sheriff for police protection.  Silverton and North Bend were the only villages that do.
       
Local 12 was told two other villages were considering the move.  Village leaders plan to use the money they're saving to repair streets.

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