Police service could change for one Fox Cities community, as discussion continues between village leaders to determine the future of patrols within Combined Locks.
For months, Combined Locks officials have been discussing whether to leave the Fox Valley Metro Police Department and contract instead with the Outagamie Sheriff’s Department and the Town of Buchanan.
The original merger of Fox Valley Metro took place between Kimberly and Little Chute in 1995, and in 2011 Combined Locks joined in. Now, five years later, Combined Locks is expressing interest of wanting out.
“All municipalities are having to run a little tighter so they have to look at ways to save costs and that is essentially what they are doing,” said Chief Erik Misself of the Fox Valley Metro Police Department.
According to Village President, John Neumeier, leaving the current deal could save Combined Locks more than $200,000 dollars per year, money they could use instead for projects like road construction. Instead, they would make a new contract with the Town of Buchanan and the Outagamie County Sheriff’s Department.
“They approached us about the possibility of sharing law enforcement resources both to improve level of service as well as find some cost efficiencies,” said Joel Gregozeski, the Town Administrator for Buchanan.
He says this deal would mutually benefit both of the neighboring communities.
“We were looking at increasing the number of patrol deputies between two and three per shift, as well as a cost savings to the town of 25-75 thousand dollars per year,” said Gregozeski.
As for Fox Valley Metro, the chief says if Combined Locks opts out, the deal could go down without laying off any current officers and patrols in Little Chute and Kimberly would continue as usual.
“I think at the end of the day, what people want to know is that when when need the police department, that someone’s going to show up in a timely manner and provide professional service,” said Chief Misselt.
For now, the Combined Locks village board voted to stay with the Fox Valley Metro Police Department, but they have a deadline of July 1, 2017 to make a final decision.