Village Police Department Struggles To Survive In Northeast Franklin County
A Central Ohio police chief says a severe budget crunch is slashing manpower and putting people's safety at risk.
The Minerva Park Police Department patrols a half square mile in northeast Franklin County. Now, the village is asking taxpayers for more money to help put officers back on the street.
Police Chief Kim Nuesse says the village gives off a “Mayberry-vibe.”
“The police department knows people very well. We know people on a first name basis."
But Chief Nuesse says in recent years, state budget cuts and reduced property values have hit Minerva Park below the financial belt, reducing the police department to a skeleton crew.
10TV obtained the July staffing schedule which shows on four days there were no Minerva Park cruisers on the road at all. On 15 other days, only one officer was available to patrol the village for 8 hours.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office tells 10TV it has picked up the slack.
Since January, the FCSO provided deputies on standby ready to respond to 911 calls for help in Minerva Park, sometimes covering as many as 500-hours in one month.
In November, it could be up to voters to decide whether the future of the Minerva Park Police Department is worth a one percent income tax increase.
Chief Nuesse says the village has already considered out sourcing the job, paying the sheriff's office or Blendon Township police to provide 24-7 coverage.
But Chief Nuesse says she believes if it ever comes to that, the sense of community will be lost.
"It's not going to be the same Minerva Park.”