Sheriff Takes Over Policing PIB Township
It’s official! The Put-in-Bay Township Trustees, Matt Miller, Eric Engel and Chris Cooper, officially contracted with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department on December 13th to provide police services for the next three years starting January 1st, 2023.
After several weeks of negotiations with the Village to provide that service, the Trustees ultimately signed with the Sheriff a contract that could cost upwards of $750,000 per year. Last year, the Trustees paid the Village in the neighborhood of $300,000 per year, but were not happy with the service, primarily because Middle Bass did not have an on-island officer during the summer season and several incidents here on South Bass where service was delayed due to lack of personnel. Last year the Trustees said at various meetings they could not afford what they paid the Village for police service and put two real estate tax levies on the ballot to raise additional funds. Both failed.
In a recent call with the Village Council during a special meeting to discuss police issues Sheriff Levorchick told members he could not confirm one way or another when he would be fully up and running and fully staffed. He basically asked the Village to continue serving the township residents this winter. The catch was that he wants the Village to do it for free. At a special Council meeting there was a discussion about mutual aid between police agencies and more than one member spoke quite frankly when hearing the Sheriff wanted the Village’s police service for free. The consensus seemed to be that mutual aid was for during times of emergency, not necessarily for routine police services. A meeting has been scheduled between Sheriff Levorchick and Village officials in early January to discuss the matter.
Other highlights of the contract include 1) there will be two Sheriff vehicles not to exceed the cost of $100,000, 2) the Sheriff will provide vehicles for patrol on Middle Bass, 3) there will be housing provided on both South Bass and Middle Bass Islands for officers at no cost, 4) temporary inmate housing will be provided by the Township, and 5) the Sheriff agrees to hire an adequate number of deputies to work within PIB Twp. on a full-time basis. Interestingly, there was nothing in the Township/Sheriff contract specifically addressing the amount of time an officer would be on Middle Bass during the season.
From conversations with various islanders, most are puzzled by the Township Trustees’ decision to go with the Sheriff especially when it comes to where they will get the money to pay for it.
In the meantime, there is a Sheriff vehicle parked at the airport that was brought to the island before the ferries stopped for the winter.
The previous piece is published in this month’s Put-in-Bay Gazette. The Gazette has been producing incredible independent Put-in-Bay island news for over 40 years. If you have any interest at all in what is happening on South Bass Island, we urge you strongly to subscribe to the Put-in-Bay Gazette. One-year online subscriptions are only $15, and print subscriptions are available as well. To subscribe please visit the Put-in-Bay Gazette subscription form. This piece of Put-in-Bay journalism has been provided to putinbayohio.com courtesy of the Put-in-Bay Gazette, Put-in-Bay’s only local newspaper. Visit their website putinbay.news for more information and to subscribe!