NEWTON FALLS, Ohio (WKBN) — Close to a dozen Newton Falls residents stood and spoke out against getting rid of the police department at a city council meeting Wednesday evening.
An emergency ordinance on the agenda would contact with the Trumbull County Sheriff Department.
“Bringing in the sheriffs, you’re going to be causing a lot of doubt with a lot of people,” said Stefan Riffle, of Newton Falls.
“You’re going to propose this right before Christmas. What happens to their families?” said Brenda Persino, of Newton Falls.
“What are the sheriffs going to do for us? They are not going to have the same level of compassion our police here have,” said Loretta Coe, of Newton Falls.
Many of them questioned what the new response time would be if Newton Falls contracts out its police force and if removing police is legal due to the city charter.
One resident brought up that the police department is currently a charter-bound department.
“That money that you’re going to spend on for those sheriffs, spend it on your own officers. They deserve it more,” Persino said.
According to city leadership, contracting with the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Department would cost around $400,000 — less than half what the city is spending to keep its own police department.
“To have the police department at a level that protects this community, we’re looking at over $900,000 for the budget for this year,” said city manager Pam Priddy.
As it stands, the city has not made a decision. They voted to table the ordinance and will revisit the vote at the next council meeting in December.