Police contracts see some changes across county
By Brenda L. Shelkey
The cost of keeping the residents safe and protected has increased for McLean County, but Sheriff Don Charging and State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson have kept a close eye on the dynamics of how the tax dollars are spent. The two met with McLean County commissioners at Tuesday morning’s meeting to present the police contracts for 2010. Erickson reminded commissioners that June is the month that the police contracts go out. He said, "Last year we met with the cities to get them up to speed so they would know what we needed for manpower for the future. We presented some changes that were meant to equalize the cost more across the board than they had previously." The proposal for the 2010 police contracts will continue the process to equalize the costs to the cities in McLean County. The table they provided to commissioners showed the 2009 and proposed 2010 contracts and indicated the differences between the two years. The table does not include the jail contracts. The largest changes weren’t immediately obvious, but Erickson explained that though Garrison’s contract will remain the same, they will be losing one officer to retirement. Garrison will maintain the same financial load as part of the process to equalize the load between them and Washburn. Garrison will drop from seven officers to six. Washburn will see an increase of eight percent which amounts to nearly $6,700 to $89,800 for four officers. "When a position comes open because someone is retiring or leaving, we try to analyze the needs and reorganize at that time if it is feasible," said Erickson. "We can use our actual call ratios and responses to make the analysis. Going from seven to six for Garrison right now seems feasible." Both Charging and Erickson talked about the importance of making decisions according to the needs of the cities and surrounding areas. Charging said, "We are looking at the call ratio and the crime rate and trying to address the issues by making recommendations to handle the areas of need. It has been working out."