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Trustees Start Budget Talks, Adding Police Officer

Working on the 2014 budget officially got underway Monday.

**Updated 10:30 a.m. Oct. 2

As promised, the 2014 Caledonia village budget keeps spending status quo but does include adding another police officer.

Budget meetings got underway Monday, and one of the primary line items board members are considering is funding the salary and benefits of a new police officer.

Village Administrator Mark Janiuk distributed copies of his proposed zero-increase budget to trustees at the Sept. 16 board meeting.

"This budget is status quo for many departments, but there are some significant changes for others," he told the board that night. "What's new is an additional full time police officer ... (and) an additional $8,000 in the parks budget to hire part-time employees."

Caledonia Police Chief Toby Schey told trustees Monday that his officers are responding to an increased number of calls. Now, they're also taking on the duties of a humane officer because the Wisconsin Humane Society doesn't do animal control, according to a story in The Journal Times.

Adding an officer would cost between $75,000 and $84,000 per year for salary and benefits, but would keep four officers on the road per shift and decrease overtime expenditures as well.

"This is about coverage per shift," Trustee Kevin Wanggaard told Patch Tuesday. "If we have a major accident, that ties up three officers. Yes, animal control takes up more time, but that's not the primary driver of this issue."

Patch spoke with Schey Wednesday, and he said being short-staffed is costing the village $150,000 this year in overtime, an amount that goes up every year. 

"We lost five officers in 2010 and have never replaced them so our overtime goes up almost 10 percent each year over the last," he said. "And we do have additional duties that keep us from proactive policing like traffic enforcement, which also can help prevent accidents, especially fatal ones."

Certainly animal control is one of those responsibilities, but the new law that requires police to get a warrant for a blood draw for an OWI (operating while intoxicated) arrest is also a concern because that situation ties up half the officers on a shift.

"When we have an OWI arrest and that person doesn't consent to a blood draw, we have to get a warrant, and that ties up two of our four officers on a shift for a couple of hours because one officer has to obtain the warrant while another officer stays at the hospital with the suspect," the chief added.

There is another budget meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the East Side Community Center, 6156 Douglas Avenue.

According to the schedule Janiuk laid out, a preliminary budget will be ready by Oct. 21, and residents will be invited to a public hearing about the budget on Nov. 18.
Tom Zacerelli October 01, 2013 at 05:40 PM
I say BS on the increase in calls. Prove it to the board using real actual data comparing this year to last. Im sure they'll see all the fluff stuff you put in as calls which is really made up stuff like "building check", "extra attention", "follow up", "information", "crime prevention" etc. Come on Village Board and Patch, do you're homework and don't let them pull the wool over your eyes. The truth is in the REAL numbers where the police are called, not where they pad their numbers with fluff. You will see a gross increase in the fluff numbers to try to justify more staff. Why do they turn away help from the Sheriff's Department, and literally get angry and tell deputies that they don't want them in caledonia and that they should not be helping? So much for honest professional leadership!
Heather Asiyanbi (Editor) October 01, 2013 at 07:11 PM
@Tom - those calls you deem unnecessary is considered crime prevention ... the more visible the officers are, the less likely crime is to take place. Here is the 2012 annual report - I would direct your attention in particular to Page 12 for the number of accidents officers handle; up in 2012 to 481 to 456 in 2011.
Heather Asiyanbi (Editor) October 01, 2013 at 07:11 PM
Whoops - here's the link: http://www.caledoniawi.com/2012AnnualReport.pdf
Anthony Smoody October 01, 2013 at 08:48 PM
Heather, were roads dicussed?
Heather Asiyanbi (Editor) October 01, 2013 at 09:35 PM
@Anthony - they did. I'll see if I can get details tomorrow.
Tom Zacerelli October 02, 2013 at 01:05 AM
@heather...are you advocating for a position or reporting the facts like a journalist. Thanks for the link. From the annual report I see that overall both violent crime and property crime is DOWN. I also see traffic citations are DOWN. An increase of 25 accidents over the course of a year is statistically insignificant at best....really you're going to justify advocating rather than reporting on an additional two (2) accidents a month...one every 45 shifts...Let me get this right, we need another cop because crime is down, citations are down, we fluff our numbers to make it look like we are busier but we're not, we're going to spend an extra 2 hours a week catching pets, and we've been seeing an additional accident every 15 days. Leadership, I think not!
c October 02, 2013 at 09:24 AM
I agree with Tom, in that a mere 5% change in number of accidents is meaningless. It could be 10% LESS next year and is more or less a random number. And, using animal control as an excuse to hire another officer? Laughable.
kentuckychief October 02, 2013 at 09:44 PM
How does one apply for this police office position?
San October 03, 2013 at 09:58 AM
one question that no one is addressing in the comments is the use of "overtime" versus staffing a "straight time" position. If adding one straight time position cuts the overtime in half, then it is paying for itself. if it cuts more than half the overtime needed to respond to calls, then it is a net benefit to the budget. large amounts of overtime tend to stretch people pretty thin, and reduce their time with their families, so a regular staffing versus overtime trade-off should be a net positive.
San October 03, 2013 at 10:46 AM
I agree that it is a matter of factual review as to the cause of the overtime. the report seemed to imply that it was a stretched staff, and if that is the case, then it could be a benefit to hire a full time officer rather than pay the overtime; but if as you indicate it is caused by other factors, and cannot be offset, then it needs further study.

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