Township police back on blockPublished 9:29am Thursday, September 10, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
Niles Charter Township supervisor Jim Kidwell said he would be proposing a township police department when the board sits down for a budget workshop Monday, Sept. 14.
The Niles City Police officer stressed that he hopes he won’t be thought of as against his own township – but it seems as though he might find himself under such scrutiny when he lays out his plan next week.
“I did put in for this budget for a township police department,” Kidwell said.
The proposal includes a department of nine officers and includes funding for three brand new police cruisers as well as a possible buy back of old township cruisers for what he estimates as $80,000 less than what is being paid the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department for police coverage.
Funding, he said, would come out of the township’s general fund and then the steps taken to change the language of the very controversial millage that was just passed in the last election to provide for law enforcement outside of the specified Sheriff’s Department.
Does the supervisor expect support for the proposal?
“Oh no,” he said quickly. “It’s going to be a long and tedious road.
“I suppose I could go after the police issue a lot stronger than I actually am,” he said.
Kidwell also acknowledged, “everyone thinks I’m so against the Sheriff’s Department.” He insisted, “I think they’re a great outfit, I really do,” but said that he felt that there were options for better coverage at a better price.
That matter will go to debate at next week’s budget workshop. The board’s next regular meeting will be Sept. 28, 7 p.m. at Township Hall on Bell Road.