Legislation adds deputy to Canal Winchester's patrol force

Scott Gerfen
ThisWeek
City of Canal Winchester

Canal  Winchester residents soon will see more Fairfield County sheriff’s deputies patrolling neighborhoods and businesses. 

City Council unanimously approved legislation Oct. 19 that provides for adding an additional deputy to the staff assigned to Canal Winchester at a cost of $80,000 and – if the budget allows – another deputy in 2021. 

Canal Winchester has a three-year agreement with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office to provide police protection for $1.16 million annually. That contract expires Dec. 31, 2021. 

The contract calls for 11 deputies, including a full-time sergeant and two deputies covering 24-hour shifts seven days a week and a third deputy to work a shift mutually agreed upon by the mayor and the sheriff. The contract will be amended to account for the additional deputies. 

During the meeting, Madison Township Police Chief Gary York also assured council his officers do patrol the community. Some council members have questioned the township’s service. 

Canal Winchester residents pay approximately $600,000 annually in property taxes to help fund the township police department, which has 16 full-time officers patrolling 40 square miles. 

“Some of the things we hear from residents are they don’t see you as much,” Councilwoman Jill Amos said. “For a while, we saw you parked along the roads watching for speeders and so we saw more visibility. … I think the concern was they liked seeing (officers) around.” 

Councilman Pat Lynch went a step further in pointing to the monthly statistics York provides to council. 

In September, Madison Township officers responded to 2,635 calls for service. Of those, 232 were in Canal Winchester. 

“While our residents make up about 20% of the township, we’re getting about 8% of the effort,” Lynch said. “I understand you’re servicing areas that don’t have police, like Blacklick Estates. But how can we raise that 8% up a little more so we get more of the share?” 

Through September, 1,210 of the township police department’s 16,557 calls for service this year were in Canal Winchester. 

“It would be difficult at times to be obligated to one area,” York said. “We don’t know what the day is going to bring us.” 

Also, since Madison Township officers do not have the ability to hear Fairfield County radio communications, they are not dispatched into the city. 

“Our officers are capable of monitoring that traffic, but it’s a small radio that they take and put in the cruiser with them,” York said. “If they’re out of the cruiser on something else, they may not hear that.”   

When a Madison Township officer writes a citation in Canal Winchester, it goes to Franklin County Municipal Court and not Canal Winchester’s mayor’s court. 

In 2019, council approved a resolution to allow Madison Township officers to cite people into mayor’s court, but an agreement between the city and township never has been worked out. 

“Our officers are here, they are visible in the community,” York said. “I hear that feedback from residents who I know that live here and have reached out to me.” 

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