Monday, August 21, 2000

Deerfield adds three officers

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP — Trustees and county commissioners will sign off on a deal to beef up police protection and keep the Warren County Sheriff's Office in Deerfield Township for at least another year.

        Trustees, county commissioners and Sheriff Tom Ariss met last week to discuss a new one-year contract that would give three additional deputies to the township without raising taxes for residents. Township officials said they expect to close the deal with commissioners in the next three weeks.

        “We are very happy that a new agreement is forthcoming,” said Trustees President Bill Morand. “Sheriff Ariss and the board of commissioners have been very understanding and cooperative in meeting the law enforcement needs of Warren County's largest community.”

        The new contract will postpone trustees' plan to create a separate police force for the township. However, township officials said they will continue to investigate and evaluate other law enforcement options.

        “I think this is a good deal for the county and for the people of Deerfield Township,” said Dan Theno, administrator of economic development and community relations. “But agreeing to this contract does not mean that Deerfield will not continue to look at other alternatives to provide as good or better protection within the current law enforcement levy.”

        Deerfield Township now pays $926,000 a year for 16 deputies under a contract with the sheriff. The cost is paid through a police levy that residents have been renewing since the late 1970s. The levy generates about $1.2 million a year.

        The contracted deputies serve Deerfield Township exclusively but are not township employees. The township pays for their uniforms, vehicles, equipment mainte nance and base of operations; the sheriff's office provides $247,000 in management, clerical services and training.

        Under the new contract, Deerfield will continue to pick up the tab for salaries, fringe benefits and patrol cars for its current complement of deputies. Warren County will pay for the three new deputies and their training.

        “The real winners in this are the residents of Deerfield Township” said Commissioner Larry Crisenbery. ""The township really couldn't afford to go out on their own under its current levy.”

        Mr. Crisenbery said the number of police calls and arrests in Deerfield Township easily justifies the expenditure of funds for additional police.

        “At first, I said, "No way,' to more deputies down there,” he said. “But after seeing the figures ... Deerfield's (police calls) outnumbered everybody else in the county almost 3-1.”

        The three new deputies, estimated to cost the county about $140,000 a year, will be assigned to Deerfield Township in spring of 2001.

        Though the deputies would be based out of the township, they would also serve as “floaters,” meaning they would be the first to be pulled to respond to calls for backup in other parts of the county.

        Other provisions of the new contract call for:

        • Deerfield Township Fire Chief Bill Kramer to be the official liaison between Warren County and the township on police issues.

        • More prominent lettering on patrol cars noting that they are Deerfield Township vehicles.

        • The township to pay for one of three patrol cars needed for the new deputies.

        “This deal puts some closure, at least for the time being, on the issue of law enforcement in Deerfield Township,” said Mr. Theno.


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