Letter: Is Wellington ready for a police department?

Editor:

The topic of a Wellington-based police department has come up more than once over the last five years.

As a town board, we have been approached on multiple occasions with proposals for starting our own police department. We have discussed the reality of funding a police department, and what it would take for us to seriously consider taking that next step.

For the year 2013, we have a contract with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office for $610,000 and we negotiate that contract annually. We as a town board know that at some point, we will need to take a serious look at what money can be spent to get matched or equal services. As the Town grows, and the need for additional resources and deputies arise, our contract with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office also increases.

The town is considering options at this time and looking at cost for matched services based on a proposal that was brought forth. We recognize that there are times when having a local force would reduce response time it may take if we do not have a deputy in town, who would need to respond from Fort Collins.

The current proposal, along with numbers gathered by Town staff indicates we could reduce current cost by almost $100,000 per year to have the same coverage and the same number of officers. Currently, the school resource officer is shared with other schools in the district, sharing time with Cache La Poudre, Timnath and the mountain schools, so we can assign one dedicated to our schools and have an officer that could help rotate in on the summer months as well to cover for vacations and training.

The need for police dispatch and police records would still need to be negotiated with the Sheriff’s Office, similar to what other small towns up and down the Front Range are currently doing, but we feel we have a decent budgetary number to start with.

The Board would like to continue a great working relationship with the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and at the same time would like to do our due diligence to make sure we are getting the best value for taxpayers’ money.

Jack Brinkhoff
Trustee, Town of Wellington

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