Petition takes aim at City’s decision to trim police force


Keep the current City of Gaylord law enforcement “as is.”

That is part of the language in a petition which will be presented to Gaylord’s City Council at its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, August 18th (tonight).

The City Council, last month, passed a proposal to have the Sibley County Sheriff’s Department provide “on call” coverage by a 3-2 margin. A four month trial period is scheduled to begin September 1st. Under the agreement, Sibley County will provide “on call” coverage for approximately 12 hours per day. The City Council, earlier this month, determined that it will have the County respond to emergency calls only.

Cooperating with the County is an attempt to save money because the City could eliminate a full-time police officer position. It is estimated the City could save $60,000 per year depending upon how many times the County is “called out.”

There has been little public resistance to the direction the City is taking with its police department until now. According to City Administrator Kevin McCann, a petition was dropped off at City Hall on August 12th. The petition states: In July, 2010, the Gaylord City Council will be discussing the future of the cities police force. One of the options being discussed is the elimination of the City police force and contracting with the Sibley County Sheriff. If you are in favor of keeping the current City of Gaylord law enforcement as is, please join us in support by signing this petition which will be forwarded to the City Council for their consideration.

One-hundred-six people signed the petition which constitutes 10.6% of the registered voters in the City. That makes it a “sufficient” petition, McCann explained.

According to the City Charter, a minimum of 10% of the total number of electors who cast their votes in the last preceding regular municipal election is needed for a “sufficient” petition. McCann reported that there were 1,000 voters in the last regular election held in 2008.

McCann plans to present the petition to the council and it will then be referred to the appropriate committee or Council as a whole. According to the City Charter, a public hearing is required. The Council will then have 65 days after the public hearing to act on a proposal. If the Council fails to pass the proposed measure, that measure shall be submitted by the council to the vote of the electors at the next regular municipal election.

McCann reported that City staff is recommending the Council hold a public hearing at the next regular Council meeting scheduled for September 1st.