The future of around-the-clock coverage by the Kane Borough Police Department may be in jeopardy.
For the past eight months, vocal “concerned citizens” have called on the Kane Borough Council to tighten its belt and cut spending to reduce property taxes.
“Our main objection is to get the borough to save money,” Mick Petruney of 321 Kearney St. has said. He is a leader of the informal group of “concerned citizens.”
Much of the criticism at the monthly council meetings this year has been directed at the police department headed by Chief Brian Hillard. He is one of five full-time police officers in Kane.
At a council meeting earlier this week, Petruney claimed the borough could “save” $150,000 per year by cutting two police officers. He said this figure includes the borough cost for health benefits, insurance, Social Security and taxes as well as the salaries and overtime for the police officers.
He said the cutting of “two or three” police officers is justified because “other communities do not have the police we have.”
After the meeting, Hillard said it requires a “minimum” of five full-time police officers to provide around-the-clock coverage.
“I could do it with four, but we’d be paying a lot of overtime,” the chief said.
Hillard said the use of more part-time police officers is not the answer to lowering expenses in the department.
“Our part-time officers all work elsewhere and are not always available when we need them,” the chief said.
According to the chief, the cutting of full-time police officers would bring an end to around-the-clock police coverage in Kane.
Without a borough officer on duty, the State Police would handle calls in Kane. According to Hillard, the State Police would only respond to “emergency calls-- if they’re even available” and not handling calls in other rural municipalities in the county.
In his criticism of the borough police department, Petruney reviewed a list of arrests made by every Kane police officer this year.
Petruney said he spent $120 from his own pocket to obtain the records, which are public information.
According to Petruney, the arrest numbers show that the borough taxpayers are not getting “their money’s worth” from the police department.
Petruney claimed the police department is “not giving us anything in return” for the amount of money spent.
“How long are we going to put up with it? Is this fair to the taxpayers to pay these people?” Petruney asked.
See full article by purchasing the Aug. 16 edition of The Kane Republican.