MERRILLAN, Wis (WEAU)--The future of the Village of Merrillan Police Department is uncertain as village leaders decide whether to keep their law enforcement agency or disband it and instead, contract with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.
The dilemma for the village of Merrillan came up last month when two of its police officers resigned.
Village Trustee Margaret Young says a former Merrillan officer is acting as marshal to maintain the department in the interim.
Last month the Village Board met with Deputy Chief Mark Moan with the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department to discuss contracting with the county to provide police services.
The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department already has contracts with Alma Center and Taylor.
“We bill them for the officer’s wages and fringe benefits and administrative costs, which cover the use of the vehicle,” Moan said.
Moan says the contracts vary on what type of service they village wants and how many hours they are requesting an officer to be present.
"It’s better to have an officer whether it’s us providing it or whether they provide their own law enforcement," said Moan.
Moan says if a community doesn't have a law enforcement agency or contract with a department the county does still provide support but the call response time maybe much longer
“When we have an officer down in the Melrose area and then the next call is in City Point you are talking an hour or hour and half. We are spreading our people out pretty thin,” said Moan.
Merrillan Trustee Margaret Young says ideally the board would like keep their police department and she says they are accepting applications for a part-time police officer through 10/30.
Merrillan Village Clerk Deb Green says right now they budget for a part time officer allows for a $16,000 salary.
Green says a decision to keep its department or contract will be made at its regular meeting Nov. 12.