Darien, Delavan to negotiate plan for police services
DARIEN The squad cars and uniforms will look different, but Darien residents will continue to get 24-7 police service.
On Monday, the Darien Village Board voted to negotiate with the city of Delavan for police services.
Both the village board and the Delavan City Council still must ratify the intergovernmental agreement between the two cities, but the Delavan Police Department could take over patrol duties as early as Jan. 1.
The vote, which was unanimous, came less than a week after the board signed a separation agreement with former Darien Police Chief Hunter Gilmore.
Gilmore is the second police chief in three years to part ways with the village. In both cases, the departures have involved lawyers, "separation agreements," buyouts and plenty of adverse publicity.
In the last two weeks, the board heard proposals from the Walworth County Sheriff's Office and the Delavan Police Department.
In eliminating its own department, the board hoped to avoid training and personnel issues, and to reduce vehicle maintenance and capital costs.
Not everyone was in favor of the change. About seven of the 20 people who attended Monday's meeting were public officials from Delavan and the Walworth County Sheriff's Department. Of those remaining, two spoke against the proposal and two had questions about its costs.
"The citizens have spoken. We want our own police department," Darien resident Debi Olmstead said.
In 2009, village residents voted 203-152 against a non-binding referendum that would have reduced or eliminated police services.
Darien resident Nick Schommer told the board that village residents wouldn't be happy with its decision.
"When the election comes up in the spring, I think there are going to be some changes," Schommer said.
Darien resident Jan West wanted to know why the village couldn't keep the services they had now if it wouldn't affect the budget.
In considering its options for police services, the board wanted to make sure it could save money while at the same time retain its identity as the village of Darien, Village Administrator Diana Dykstra said.
The sheriff's office offered the village three proposals ranging in price from $350,285 to $446,785. The Delavan offer had a higher price tag: $465,000. All of the proposals would be less expensive than the amount Darien budgeted for its police department in 2012: $511,086.
As such, Delavan squad cars will be marked to show that they are part of the Darien patrol. Officers likely will wear a badge or patch indicating they are assigned to the area. The local office will remain open.
Of the three full-time officers in the Darien Police Department, one already works part-time for the Delavan department, another is on its eligibility list and a third will be considered for a job there.