cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner
Here we go again.
I don’t quite understand the urge that some have that they seem to need to try to change what works, and works well. But, there seems to be some strange inner drive that makes this come up every once in a while. What is this about? One of our village trustees has apparently talked with the Washington County Sheriff and they have concocted the latest attempt to pare down the Germantown Police Department.
Trustee Art Zabel, in conjunction with the Washington County Sheriff, Dale Schmidt, who is running for re-election, appear to have decided that it would be good for us citizens of Germantown if all local police dispatch functions were ended and taken over by someone sitting in a room in West Bend who has no direct knowledge of our community.
Let’s scrap the recently upgraded communications system; that which we just installed at significant cost (because we had to if we wanted to be able to communicate with the outside law enforcement world).
We have an excellent dispatch operation with qualified local people who have from four to thirty years on the job. Why not just cut those folks loose and employ whoever the people in West Bend can find, people who don’t live with us and who don’t know the community, or the officers on patrol, or the people whom they’re paid to serve.
Silliness aside, this latest effort to end something that works is more difficult to understand since it has no substance behind it. No one seems to know what it supposedly would accomplish. No one apparently has any idea of what it would cost for us to buy the services from the county compared to what it costs us now. No one has really bothered, apparently, to think this through; they just throw it against the wall to see what, if anything, will stick.
There are quite a few holes that would be left in Germantown if this suggestion were to be given credence, which it shouldn’t be given.
Who will handle the observation duties in the booking room like the current staff does when someone is being booked? That is a potentially dangerous time for the booking officer and it is necessary that he or she be observed to assure his or her safety. Who will monitor the exterior security system? Never mind; if we can save some money, even in the short term, let’s plunge ahead. Oh, that’s right…we don’t know if, or for how long, we’d save that money.
Who would take down my vacation watch information when I am about to leave my home unattended for several days? Certainly not the person in West Bend. Their sole function after the proposed take-over would be taking calls and dispatching officers by radio. None of the other duties shared by the current onsite dispatch staff will be done by the County if it takes over the dispatch function. Either those functions will have to be ended or people will have to be hired to fill the gaps.
Who will track the officers’ positions in the village using the onboard GPS capability in the event that one needs assistance? Who will dispatch the fire and emergency calls and coordinate those activities with law enforcement? Who will launch the warning siren system for Germantown residents when a threat is approaching or could develop? Who will develop the intimate knowledge of our village street system and use that knowledge to help officers in route to an incident from various other locations?
Our Germantown Police Department is about as ‘skinny’ in staffing as it can safely be, and yet, there is always that urge that some have to try to either kill the department completely, as the last ‘non-starter’ effort was all about, or to take pieces of it away maybe thinking that would end up causing us to abandon the entire department after things started to go haywire.
The idea that something so critically important could be proffered for discussion without more thoughtful analysis and fact-gathering is mind-boggling to me. That such an apparently ill-thought proposition would not be laughed out of the board room, is also mind-boggling.
Our Village Board ought to make short shrift of this latest edition of “pare down the Police Department” and get on to things that make sense. I can somewhat understand the Sheriff being interested in exploring an expansion of his area of responsibility, especially in an election year. That would bring some free publicity. Sheriff Schmidt would be well served by the reminder that this kind of publicity from such an ill-thought proposition could be much worse than no publicity at all.
But I cannot understand this latest salvo being taken for a serious proposition by the other board members or by our county supervisors who ought to sit down with the sheriff for a chat on this subject.
By the way, this is apparently going to be on the September 20th Board Agenda; that would be a good time for residents to put the kibosh on this latest attempt to diminish our policing capabilities.