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Medina officers could police Lafayette Township under pact

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MEDINA — The Medina Police Department is headed toward providing service to Lafayette Township.

City Council’s Finance Committee unanimously approved a draft of a four-year contract with the township Monday.

The contract is expected to come before council for a formal vote June 25, assuming the draft is approved by Law Director Greg Huber.

The contract would become effective 30 days after Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell signs it.

Under the contract, the township would pay the city an estimated $300,000 a year. Lafayette would fund the contract with revenue from its 2.3-mill police services levy, which voters renewed in November.

If everything is approved, as expected, Medina police would begin covering Lafayette in the fall.

The contract would run through Dec. 31, 2022.

Medina Police Chief Ed Kinney said he was approached by Lafayette trustees about possibly providing service for the township’s approximately 5,700 residents and 23 square miles.

“The plan is to add two officers using the Lafayette police levy revenue, which fluctuates between $290,000 and $305,000,” Kinney said. “It is favorable for Medina PD due to the added manpower we will be able to call on in the city if necessary.”

The chief said the police roster would increase from 39 officers to 41.

He said at least one officer would be on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week in Lafayette, which he labeled the southwest sector. Kinney said that officer would float between the city and the township in that sector.

“The benefit to Lafayette Township is Medina Police Department police coverage near its population centers (Ryan Road developments, Lake Road, the state Route 162 corridor and Chippewa Road),” he said. “Additionally, if a police call in Lafayette requires more than one officer, we have officers close by.”

The contract calls for the city to provide monthly reports to the township on police activity. The Medina County Sheriff’s Office, which bills for its service by the hour, currently provides coverage to the township.

“Lafayette is looking to use Medina police because we would essentially be getting more hours per week (in) police coverage for the same money we are spending now,” Lafayette Trustee Mike Costello said. “In doing so, the city is going to create a ‘southwest beat,’ which would incorporate Lafayette Township. There would be a car in this beat 24/7. It gives us the ability to provide increased coverage within the budget that our police levy provides.

“Like anything else, we have an obligation to ensure our residents get the best service possible at the lowest cost. We are looking at all options.”

The city and township can cancel the contract after a 90-day written notice.

Huber asked if the contract was terminated, what would happen to the two new officers.

Hanwell said in a worst-case scenario, the officers would be laid off. However, through attrition, they’d likely find room for them on the roster. “There is a constant ebb and flow,” Hanwell said.

Ward 2 Councilman Dennie Simpson wanted to know how the extra police calls would affect the city’s communications center.

Kinney said he recently had a meeting with Lt. Dave Birckbichler, who’s in charge of the communications center, about increased calls.

“He finds (the extra calls) will be negligible,” he said.

Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Ken Baca when reached by phone Monday night following the council meeting said Lafayette’s contract with the sheriff’s office expired Dec. 31 and service is provided on a month-to-month basis. The township would need to give notice of 30 days to terminate service.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.
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