Columbus task force studies policing

Paul Rignell
Columbus Reporter

Columbus city leaders have taken a new step toward reviewing the city’s options for police protection by establishing a task force that met Wednesday, May 1.

Elected officials including Mayor Dave Povolny and Councilmember Jessie Messina were expected to join Planning Commission members Andy Anderson and Garth Sternberg in comprising half of the task force. As of the April 24 City Council meeting, staff had confirmed two other residents as participants. One is a Brooklyn Park police officer.

Povolny said April 24 that he hoped also to bring the security director from Running Aces Harness Park onto the task force, along with another Columbus resident who is known to be working for police in a south metro city.

The Columbus City Council voted 3-2 last December to extend a contract with Anoka County for policing through 2014, but a review of increased fees last fall prompted city officials to look into other options.

In the new contract, county deputies will boost their minimum presence in the city starting in July from eight to 10 hours daily, including weekends. However, there are provisions for the city to pull out after 2013 if the county should come forward with further proposed increases that would exceed 5 percent of this year’s payments.

  • Eric Langness

    I’m not advocating one way or another but am glad to hear that Columbus is looking at several options for this. That is intelligent governing.

    They should also consider agreements (if legal) with other nearby services that could be considered, such as contracting with Forest Lake, Lino Lakes or the State Patrol. Competitive bidding even within government can save costs, but then again it might turn out they find they have the best deal already and continue with that.

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