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At the request of the Wellington Town Board, Wellington finance director Mike Cummins has researched the financial feasibility of establishing an independent police department for Wellington.
Wellington currently contracts with the Larimer County Sheriff for police service. Cummins reports that the contract is for $610,000. Cost range for an independent department ranges between $429,000 and $680,000, depending on the level of service required.
The issue of a town police department has come up four or five times during Cummins’ 15-year tenure. “Usually it is because there is an individual interested in heading up a police department.”
Cummins’ report addresses three levels of service: entry level, medium and high levels, depending largely upon personnel and number and cost of vehicles. Costs for the first year would be significantly higher because of the cost of purchasing vehicles and equipment.
Town board member Jack Brinkhoff says Wellington has been pleased with the reliable service provided by the Larimer County Sheriff’s department. At the same time, he acknowledges Wellington is growing and says the board wants to make sure there will be adequate coverage at all times.
Brinkhoff also wanted to make clear that whatever happens down the road, Wellington plans to maintain its relationship with the sheriff’s department so that they can be called upon for back-up when needed. He believes it may be possible for Wellington to provide as good or better service with a police department of its own. However, there are several issues to be discussed including identifying a suitable facility.
Dan Frazen, currently an officer with the Greeley Police Department with prior experience as a Larimer County deputy, presented his ideas at an Aug. 13 town board work session.
Cummins explained that as Wellington grows, establishing its own police department is certainly a valid issue for the board to investigate. Some smaller communities across the country favor maintaining an agreement with larger law enforcement agencies to provide police services, he said. Others elect to have their own independent department.