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October 19 • 05:48 PM
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Sheriff makes pitch in Capac


Council considers cost saving move of disbanding village police department


March 17, 2010
CAPAC — Law enforcement savings could be in Capac's future according to Sheriff Tim Donnellon, who outlined a three-year contract proposal at Monday's council meeting.

Donnellon said he can offer 24 hour coverage, seven days a week starting at $206,971 per year. The current village police budget stands at $347,322 with an average of 14 hours of coverage per day. In subsequent fiscal years, the contract cost would be $229,515 (2011) and $254,812 (2012).

The St. Clair County Sheriff Department already offers contract law enforcement to Fort Gratiot, China, East China, Ira and Port Huron townships.

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Sheriff Tim Donnellon says the village of Capac could save more than $100,000 in law enforcement costs by entering into an agreement with the county for 24 hour coverage. photo by Maria Brown.

"We're a full service law enforcement agency," Donnellon told the council and audience, saying they would perform all the same services the Capac force is tasked with, including property checks and ordinance enforcement.

Donnellon said contract deputies are hand picked by the sheriff and come highly trained. Local officials remain involved in the day to day decisions related to the contract. The deputies or another officer from the department also makes regular reports at municipal meetings.

"Don't think that there's a loss of control," Donnellon said of entering into an agreement.

If the village chose to go with contract law enforcement, Donnellon said they'd see long term savings in areas such as retiree benefits and insurance rates. He also stated they would hire Capac's lone full-time officer Renee Braga.

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The council stated in advance that they wouldn't make a decision at the March 15 meeting. President Mark Klug said there are a lot of figures for village officials to study in the meantime.

Donnellon stressed that there would be no hard feelings on his end if the village decided to pass. He said he understood that for a contract agreement to be successful, it would have to be cost-effective for the village.

Current Capac Chief Richard Zavislak had his own set of questions for Donnellon ranging from overtime pay to crossing guards. He also questioned some of the figures Donnellon used for calls handled.

Zavislak said it's debatable whether the sheriff's department can deliver a significant cost savings. He said his department has already begun to shave costs from the police budget and could easily realize about $111,000 in savings through budget amendments.

Recent expenditure reports from the village show that eight months into their $347,322 budget, police department costs have added up to $203,251.

The next regular village council meeting is April 5.

Maria Brown joined the Tri-City Times staff in 2003, the same year she earned a bachelor's degree in English from Calvin College. Born and raised in Imlay City, she now resides north of Capac where she enjoys working on the farm, gardening and reading.
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