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Letter: Bartonville needs to evaluate police options

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When the Bartonville town survey stated that 55% of the town wanted a smaller police department, we listened.  This poll expressed a desire to reduce the percent of budget expended on the police force.  Wanting to hear more, we hosted a town forum regarding the police department.  This audience spoke in favor of 24×7 police coverage, which would require several more officers, something that can not be achieved within the current budget.  This left us in a quandary as to how to meet the needs of all citizens – reducing cost while increasing police coverage to 24×7.

As a result, we began to investigate options.  One option was to meet with Double Oak and brainstorm the possibility and mutual benefits of combining operations.  A joint venture would save money and provide additional protection for both towns.  Double Oak is currently 24×7, and desires to expand their force to allow relief officers, a need that they can’t quite meet today.  

As stated, Bartonville would need to hire to allow for 24×7 coverage.  With a combined force, 11 officers (a combination team of the existing 7 Double Oak officers and the 4 Bartonville officers), both towns keep costs low and meet the needs of their citizens with a local force to provide both towns 24×7 coverage, within budget, and with proper relief officers for both towns.

These preliminary discussions were shared with the town at town council and were also mentioned at “Meet the Candidate.”  Additionally, the current Bartonville Chief of Police, Dave Howell, has jointly attended and participated with most of the meetings with Double Oak. 

When discussions began, I met with all the Bartonville police officers to assure them that these were preliminary discussions and that the combined force would include 4 additional full time officers – the same number as is on the Bartonville Police Department.   The officers understood the value of a combined force and that they would have opportunities on the potential combined force.

I am a retired Army officer who has worked numerous disaster relief efforts and the son of a retired police officer.  I understand and respect the value of our peace officers.

The option of a combined force and other options will be covered in future council sessions as we evaluate the request for 24×7 coverage against budget priorities.  I am not in favor of raising taxes and believe we can meet our needs with unique solutions.

If you believe in open communications and respectful dialog, a person committed to finding the right solutions for our town, I would appreciate your vote.

Bill Scherer
Mayor Pro Tem and Mayoral Candidate
Bartonville, TX

 

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