Editorial: Singled-out payments for Stark County Sheriff Office patrols not idealStark County’s decision to charge $2 per resident per month for law enforcement in cities that don’t have police departments is not a fitting arrangement.
Stark County’s decision to charge $2 per resident per month for law enforcement in cities that don’t have police departments is not a fitting arrangement.
Sheriff Office responsibilities are all under the umbrella of the county and all Stark County residents deserve equal protection.
To charge certain towns more just doesn’t make sense. If a person lives a mile outside of one of these towns, he is going to get the same sheriff’s services as a resident in town.
However, his taxes may not reflect that equally because the city will be the only entity responsible for coming up with extra funds.
Interestingly, a commissioner said Taylor would be billed, but allowed to pay what it could.
How does a city decide what it can pay? It’s most likely each of the towns to be billed — Gladstone, Richardton, South Heart and Taylor — could use the money elsewhere. Another necessary service facing needed upgrades includes water systems. Garbage disposal and aging infrastructure also come to mind.
Stark County needs to look at the budget and find a way to make sure all receive the same safeguards. If it means designating more green to the department, so be it. Most all will agree it’s a vital public service that not everyone has the guts to perform. We deeply respect the commitment from the deputies and what they do to keep our communities safe, but there has to be a better way.
Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said no matter what the call, deputies will continue to respond.
The $2 per resident is for extra patrol, though deputies will likely spend about the same time they have been in each since the beginning of 2012. Some cities have already paid extra for increased Sheriff’s Department presence.
Taylor City Councilman Russ Myran made a valid point during the Thursday meeting where this decision was made. “The normal sheriff’s duties you pay with your property taxes,” he said.
The new bills won’t be horrendous but the cost of law enforcement needs to be equal for everyone. If there is more need for law enforcement now because of the oil boom, this is a perfect place to use oil impact fees and look for other grants.
In fact, in September Stark County received about $214,000 to hire or rehire law enforcement officer positions through the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services program.
As the sheriff shares on the county website, “We are dedicated in providing a professional and safe environment to the citizens and visitors of Stark County. We have and will continue to provide and preserve future generations with a level of safety and building a strong partnership throughout the county.”
A commissioner at the meeting said deputies will make a good faith effort to patrol cities that pay their fees.
We urge the department to keep the partnership strong, work with the county and communities to create a better system.
Dickinson Press Publisher Harvey Brock and Editor Jennifer McBride are on the Editorial Board.