Norwich Township and city of Hilliard leaders will soon be sitting down to discuss the contract regarding the township's police services.

Norwich Township and city of Hilliard leaders will soon be sitting down to discuss the contract regarding the township's police services.

For the last six years, Norwich Township has contracted with the Hilliard Division of Police to provide coverage for the area. The current three-year contract expires at the end of this year.

At the Aug. 17 board of trustees meeting, township administrator Wayne Warner was directed to begin discussions with the police division to renew the contract.

Trustees president Chuck Buck said the township is looking for a contract equitable to all involved.

"This will be the end of a three-year contract," Buck said. "We used to contract through the (Franklin County) sheriff, but those prices seemed a bit excessive, so we went out for bids. The trustees passed a motion to send a letter to (Hilliard staff) to begin the discussion, and then we will review and register any questions or concerns they may have. We want this to be fair to everybody."

Police coverage currently costs the township $353,985 annually, according to police chief Rodney Garnett.

"We handle all police calls in the township, do routine patrols, investigate criminal complaints, perform traffic enforcement, the whole ball of wax," Garnett said. "I think it's been a pretty good working relationship."

According to the police division's 2008 annual report, of the 3,927 reports filled in 2008, 280 were from the township; 136 were traffic crash reports, and 144 were incident reports. Of those incident reports, 25 were assigned to the division's detective bureau for investigation.

Garnett said that while the sheriff's department still has county-wide jurisdiction, the Hilliard police now provide more intensive coverage.

"The (sheriff's office) used to designate a deputy to the township for so many hours a day, in more of a concentrated patrol situation," he said. "Residents could still call them any time of the day for police intervention; now they call us."

Garnett said he couldn't give a strong estimate of how long negotiations between the city and the township will take to hammer out the contract.

"I can't predict the length of negotiations, but I would certainly hope to have a contract resolved before the end of this year," Garnett said.

Garnett added that the division currently has no plans to increase staffing in regards to the contract.

lrice@thisweeknews.com