Line drawn in law enforcement talks
Calls from Columbus to fall down priority list at sheriff’s office if city does not agree to Anoka County’s latest plan
Columbus Mayor Dave Povolny told his fellow council members Sept. 26 that he had spoken further with Anoka County Sheriff’s Office representatives on the city’s law enforcement budget since their talk Sept. 12.
Rather than raise the city’s commitment for county services by six figures all in one year, the county proposes a raise of $25,000 for 2013 and then to build Columbus to an increase of $100,000 over the current contract by 2017, the mayor said. That would still lead Columbus into boosting its dedicated coverage from Anoka County, when a deputy and patrol car would be based in Columbus, from eight to 10 hours daily including weekends.
If Columbus should not agree to the latest negotiated plan, Povolny said, the county would no longer respond right away to non-emergency calls outside of dedicated hours. Though deputies would still be dispatched 24/7 on calls of assaults or vehicular crashes, he explained, the county would not prioritize immediate response to calls of barking dogs or even many thefts, Povolny said.
He said the county reports that its deputies are spending a disproportionate amount of time in Columbus among its eight contracted cities and townships, that “we’re drinking more Kool-Aid than what we’re paying for,” the mayor said.
Council member Bill Krebs said he feels bound by Anoka County. “They’re determining what our fair share is. They’re making the rules,” he said.
“There are some options with police protection,” replied the mayor, who has said the county services have been affordable while also noting the city could start its own department or join resources with another city. “We’ve got to find a better way to do it.”