‘Burnt Out’: Belfield debates police merger with County Stark
A gaggle of Belfield residents raised issues over the proposed merger of the Belfield Police Division and the Stark County Sheriff’s Workplace at a particular city corridor assembly Thursday night on the Belfield Theater. Belfield Police Chief Steve Byrne and Stark County Sheriff Corey Lee additionally spoke about why the merger is useful in the long term. The controversial matter has been the topic of public dialogue since December.
“We’re going via troublesome occasions; it is not simply our police division or our metropolis, it is throughout the nation. We do our greatest to adapt to what has been offered to us and we’re critically fascinated about how greatest to serve the neighborhood sooner or later, ”mentioned Byrne. “… Small city departments are struggling to search out manpower and burnout is a actuality within the careers of first responders. Folks will go away this job to take a break, after which they are going to come again. ”
Byrne works a relentless vary of fifty to 60 hours every week together with his right-hand Ok-9 “Thor”, patrolling the city and making an attempt to maintain everybody secure. Working 24/7 and at all times on name, Byrne isn’t paid for the additional time he spends every work week. Previously 12 months, there have been two violent crime incidents that occurred when Byrne was off responsibility.
“My mates, I’m in a susceptible place, particularly with the stigma of legislation enforcement of retaining issues bottled up inside and never exhibiting weak spot. However I am screaming at you tonight that if I proceed on this path I’ll burn out within the subsequent yr or two, ”Byrne mentioned, with a pause. “Let’s work collectively not solely to search for tomorrow or subsequent month, but additionally for the subsequent 10 to fifteen years. Please perceive that if we give it an opportunity, I can proceed to be a robust presence on this neighborhood for a few years to return.
One impediment that continues to be for the Belfield Police Division is the officer retention fee, and it’s seen in legislation enforcement companies within the South West, as evidenced by the Dickinson Police Division. Discovering law enforcement officials with clean information is more and more troublesome to search out, Byrne added.
“For this to work, all of us must work collectively. In a metropolis of about 800 folks, we’d like 1,600 eyes that watch over one another. When somebody sees one thing, say one thing. Should you try for perfection instantly, you’re unlikely to succeed. If there are any points, we have to come to the desk and focus on what we are able to do to enhance, ”Byrne mentioned.
With the merger of the Stark County Sheriff’s Workplace, this may permit for better protection and skilled MPs who could make higher judgments and selections on appeals, Byrne famous.
A number of the expectations embody a three-year contract, the place the primary yr is obtainable at $ 208,000, the second yr at $ 213,000 and the third yr at $ 218,000.
A former schoolteacher shared her issues: “I believe we the residents of Belfield have the best and, with all due respect to our residents, to have the ability to have a neighborhood police officer as we at all times have.
Discovering viable candidates for law enforcement officials is a troublesome query, mentioned one other citizen, including: “… It’s not potential. We have no candidates, they do not need to come right here to work, so it’s a must to begin trying to the longer term… We’ve got to let Steve be blissful and do what he has to do for himself.
Since 2012, the Belfield Police Division has employed 9 full-time officers and Byrne is the one officer remaining. The part-time brokers turned exhausted as they took on extra accountability inside their very own companies, Byrne mentioned. With the merger, Byrne hopes to develop the Ok-9 program in Belfield and assist put it on the map.
“I am under no circumstances a coward, however understanding the place your breaking level is and taking a step again to have much less accountability to have time to determine the bonds that I need to preserve robust is a significant side for me on this merge with Stark County, ”Byrne identified.
Belfield Metropolis Council will revisit this matter at its city corridor assembly which is able to begin at 5 p.m. on Tuesday 9 March on the Belfield Theater.