DESHLER — The village voted against renewing a police patrol agreement with the Village of Hamler.
The vote was 4-3, with Mayor Steve Gibson casting the deciding vote.
The village is operating on a one-year agreement to provide 15 hours per week of police patrol to Hamler. It was reported this current contract will expire Friday.
Council members had an ordinance present at Monday’s regular session to potentially renew the agreement, but it was noted Hamler representatives have raised concerns about communication and Deshler Council members discussed how arrangements with other municipalities are stretching its own coverage thin.
Gibson explained the theory of setting up these arrangements was that the revenue from the agreements would cover the costs of part-time work to patrol the other municipalities. He said the police chief has had recent communication with Hamler representatives to discuss the scheduling.
Council members such as Richard McCance noted conditions over the past couple of years have been difficult for those looking for extra part-time work, such as the work affecting unemployment benefits for those that lost their main job during the pandemic. It was also noted the Deshler police chief schedule changes with the activity in the village, such as having to address recent break-ins and thefts.
In the case of Hamler, it was said the part-time officer that mainly patrols there can only work certain hours, and these hours are already covered by officers in Deshler.
“I’m not a big fan (of patrolling) other places, but Hamler doesn’t bother me,” McCance said of the arrangement. “It’s a very tough thing to make everybody happy. I would like to see 24-7 coverage in Deshler. I would like to see all of the dope get out of Deshler.”
“I personally think we don’t need to be out patrolling Henry County for the other villages. We should keep the hours here,” said council member Bob George, noting the travel also builds up mileage on village vehicles.
“The number-one priority is Deshler. If we can’t cover Deshler, why are we covering Hamler?” council member Teresa Lederer asked.
Gibson called for a decision to vote or table the matter, and council decided to vote. McCance, Jim Suber and Pam Abrams approved of another agreement, while Lederer, George and Mike Woods dissented. With a tied vote, Gibson broke the tie with a dissenting vote.
Gibson had noted Hamler would need to approve and sign the agreement if council had passed the matter, so the agreement still could have come back to Deshler Council for further review if Hamler dissented.
“They can still seek us out for a different contract,” Gibson said of Hamler. “We can go back to the table with it voted down.”
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