An additional deputy will be patrolling Canal Winchester early next year as the city looks to beef up its law enforcement.
City Council approved an amended contract with the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office in November, and Mayor Mike Ebert is expected to meet with Madison Township trustees to explore possible assistance from the township's police force.
The amended contract with Fairfield County, which runs until the end of 2018, provides for 11 officers and a sergeant, with two deputies covering 24-hour shifts seven days a week, and a third on the streets eight hours a day, five days a week.
"We've had issues of speeding and nonviolent crimes that have gone up in recent years," Councilman Bruce Jarvis said in explaining the need for more enforcement. "Our level of staffing has been steady since 1998, but our population is increasing."
The city is paying Fairfield County nearly $970,000 for law enforcement protection in 2017. The additional deputy will cost $90,000.
While a generic FBI student study indicated a need for additional patrol, city Finance Director Amanda Jackson advised council to wait to add more deputies until the city begins negotiations next year for a new contract for police services.
In addition to paying Fairfield County, Canal Winchester property owners also are taxed by Madison Township levies. According to the Franklin County Auditor's Office, residents pay approximately $581,000 for police services, Jackson said.
However, Madison Township officers do not provide service to Canal Winchester residents.
"We're hoping that something comes out of that, and Madison Township can provide us with some level of service that would allow us to stretch our police protection without any additional money that (residents) are already paying," Jarvis said.
City officials have met twice with Madison Township trustees, Ebert said. Another meeting is expected to be scheduled after new trustee John Pritchard, who was the top vote-getter in the Nov. 7 election, is sworn in.
The city is studying the cost of maintaining its own police force, which would add expenses for personnel, equipment, vehicles, weapons, training and facilities.
"I can pretty much tell you it's going to be three to four times higher than what we're paying right now," Ebert said.