City will consider law enforcement options at workshop


How much Police presence is needed in the City of Gaylord?

That is the question facing Gaylord’s City Council. The unexpected resignation of new police chief Thomas Fadden, in May, has prompted City officials to review its law enforcement options and determine which direction is appropriate for Gaylord.

Being short staffed, the City of Gaylord is already contracting with the Sibley County Sheriff’s Department for on-call coverage when its officers are off duty. This coverage typically runs when the night officer’s shift ends, according to City Administrator Kevin McCann. Then, Sibley County would provide on-call coverage for approximately four hours. The County would be reimbursed $45/hour for any call outs during this time.

McCann was also directed by the City Council to further explore the City’s law enforcement options. These options will be considered by council members during a workshop meeting scheduled for Wednesday, July 7th at City Hall.

McCann first compared costs between Gaylord’s Police Department and the Sibley County Sheriff’s Department. He determined that having the City provide patrol would be the cheapest option by approximately $10,000. So to save money, council members must determine what level of police presence is desired. The City currently provides 20 hours of coverage per day during the week and 12 hours per day on weekends.

Options being presented range from continuing with a chief and two full-time officers to eliminating the department and contracting with Sibley County for all law enforcement services.

According to McCann, City staff is recommending the option which eliminates one full time officer. With this option, the City would continue having Eric Boon (current interim chief) serve as chief and have one full-time officer. Sibley County would provide day emergency coverage for eight hours.

The City of Winthrop contracts with Sibley County for emergency day coverage. Arlington contracts with the county for patrol and emergency day coverage.

Estimating one emergency call per day, McCann determined the recommended option would result in a budget savings of $66,686.

McCann reported that the recommendation is based on assumptions and estimates only. It comes down to what the City Council/public feel is the appropriate level of police presence, McCann explained. Staff has recommended that all the options be discussed in greater detail at the workshop.

Among other options being considered include:
• Hire a new chief and continue to run police department “as is.” (no budget savings);
• Eliminate one officer and have part-time day coverage. (savings of $45,442);
• Eliminate one officer and have Sibley County provide day coverage – 8 hours of patrol. (increase of $22,442);
• Eliminate one officer position and have Sibley County provide day coverage – 4 hours of patrol. (savings of $29,448);
• Eliminate police department and contract with Sibley County – same patrol as being provided by City now. (increase of $10,460);
• Eliminate police department and contract with Sibley County – 12 hours/day patrol and 12 hours/day call-out. (savings of $57,629);