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City Approves Using Woodford County for Police Protection

Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - Posted 8:13:08 PM
The Minonk City Council approved the transferring of police protection to Woodford County at a special meeting Tuesday night.  The decision was unanimous among the council with alderman Trent Ruestman making the motion.  

City Administrator Bill Moline, who explained the case for going with the county, said the decision was primarily due to the inability to keep police officers in the city.  He said 12 officers have been hired and then lost over the past 2 years and there are currently only 3 officers on the payroll.  He said it cost $750 for vests, $600 for uniforms, $600 for equipment plus other incidentals which makes it expensive to train and then lose an officer.  In addition, the current Police Chief has been transferred to the Springfield National Guard and is unable to keep his job in Minonk.  He said $30,000 in severance pay will be given to the 3 officers who will be losing their job.

Mr. Moline said it would cost $45,000 to hire an additional officer and 4 more are needed.  He said the city can save over $28,000 by going with the county for police protection.  He said the county has a reliable staff in addition to having 2 detectives and a narcotics detective on their staff to aid in investigations.  He said the training and equipment is the responsibility of the county.  In addition, county deputies have jurisdiction on I-39 whereas Minonk police officers do not.  

The county will provide 24/7 coverage just like the Minonk police provided and the police station will be used by the county.  In effect, all that is changing is personnel because coverage will be the same as before.  He concluded by saying it is a win/win situation.

Woodford County Sheriff Matt Smith then gave a brief presentation of what the county will do for the City of Minonk.  He said the county has several contracts with other communities in the county.  Minonk will receive 24/7 coverage with a squad car here every day and will be located in the current police station and using the same telephone number.  He said if a citizen has a complaint about an officer, they can contact the county.  He emphasized that the county is not coming in to change anything but will provide the same coverage as now.  He said there will be a mix of senior and junior officers.

The county deputies that will be assigned to Minonk are Brett Brown, Matt Haines who is a current Minonk police officer, Jake Edwards and Chad Pyles.
Sheriff Smith also said that Minonk police officers Dakota Park and J.T. Gentes have been hired by the county but will not be assigned to Minonk.

Sheriff Smith said the contract with the City of Minonk for Public Safety duties will be around $348,000 a year on a multi-year contract.  He said the county is discussing with the city the possibility of buying the City's squad cars but no deal has yet been reached.

Sheriff Smith was asked how coverage for Minonk differs from coverage for Roanoke.  He said Roanoke receives 8 hours of coverage a day 7 days a week and their contract is for $127,000 a year as compared to Minonk receiving 24/7 coverage for $348,000.

Dr. Dan Oakley asked if the county will provide school coverage at Fieldcrest High School as is now being received.  Sheriff Smith said deputies will cover the school as it is now and they will get to be known by the school as they are expected to be stationed in Minonk for 4 or 5 years.

Someone asked how often this police issue has been discussed in open session. Mayor Bill Koos said it has been discussed twice in open session over the last 2 years.

Reporter Dave Uphoff told the council that this agreement with the county may be the greatest deal in the world but felt that the public should have been given the details before voting on the issue so as to allow the council members to get feedback from their constituents.

Alderman Russell Ruestman said he understands where the public is coming from and how they feel but explained due to the lack of officers and the prospect of not having any police protection for 30 days or more required the council to move fast on the issue.


Jennifer Murrah: Funny thing is all of a sudden, woodford county taking over and BAM county all over town today pulling people over......
Annie Otto: Its crazy that we lost JT and we are getting officers that know nothing about Minonk.
JT Ashley: Annie Otto the deputy's that are covering Minonk are very capable of handling anything that Minonk will throw at them.
Annie Otto: JT Ashley I don't doubt that but Doesn't make sense to send u elsewhere and start fresh. Imo.
Kristie Miller Annie Otto: that's because he didnt get a patrol position...but the deputies that did will do great in serving this town.. woodford county has so many great officers... Jt will be missed patrolling for sure. But we are in good hands..
Eric Clevenger: So I was reading this and it was to save money, so they say. If I do the math right it would cost 45000 x4 for four officers for a total of 180000. That is much less than the 323000 we are paying for county. Where is the exact savings. I want to see the actual break down.
Mindy Johnson: I read that as we need 4 additional officers on top of what we have.
Eric Clevenger: I can see that. Ok so add the three current officers at say 45000 each. 135000 plus the new officers 180000 equals 315000 still less that the contract.
Mindy Johnson: I don't know for sure but I would assume the cost of police cars, insurance, uniforms, bullet proof vest, etc would all have to be added not just salaries??
Jordan Meyer: Eric this was explained very well at the meeting in detail. Also a call to your alderman or city officials can also explain it for you vs knee jerk reaction comments on social media. Reading a SUMMARY of a meeting online is not going to give you all the answers. You are looking at just the officer cost, not the cost to run and insure the whole police department.
Kristie Miller: Mindy Johnson also the fact they sent so many to the academy and paid for it only for them to quit and get a position elsewhere... this article doesnt say that...doesnt say how much money went towards that...
Eric Clevenger: I can accept both of those. Now my question would be, what cause the officers to leave? Was it they wanted more pay? Was it they felt the weren’t supported by the council? Which if this has been going on for two years would make new hires weary of trying to make a life in a town that may at some point outsource your job.
Penny Land: I was unhappy about this until I read there would be 24-7 coverage and not just a county officer responding from somewhere in the county when there was a call.
Brian Tull: There's a new sheriff in town and this is how we do it... so go back home ...nothing to see here... LOL... We had to act fast... ? Afraid a major crime spree might happen? Cmon... really?
Justin Arndt: It makes sense, officers use small towns as a stepping stone to police careers. They come here get all their training paid for to get their certifications just to move on to another department. Costing the city money to get maybe a years worth of service in return. In no way does that make it better for the individuals who are losing their jobs. But I can understand from the city's point of view it has to be frustrating.
Trent Ruestman: The community has said for years they want 24/7 police protection with an officer in the city. This is what the residents are getting for a cheaper price and numerous other benefits from what we were currently providing. If anybody cares to actual talk to an alderman and hear the answers from the source my phone and email are and 309.648.7074. I would appreciate input or feedback to me personally rather than making false statements on a social media site that is no way an official site of the City of Minonk.
Melanie Olson Mills: Did anyone care to ask the town of Minonk what we would like?? We all know the decision was already made before anything was said to the public.
Jordan Meyer: Yes that was the purpose of the meeting last night, for the citizens of Minonk to voice their concerns and ask questions. There was public comment that many asked questions and were pleasantly surprised with the answers and the transition of the police to the county. But you are definitely free to state what you would like, I would recommend doing it to a city official directly vs a social media site.
Melanie Olson Mills: Jordan Meyer what I am saying is the decision was made even before the public was even asked.
Jordan Meyer: That was also explained at the meeting and they went through the timeline of events how this discussion came up. Looks like two alderman listed their contact information on this post. They could explain that timeline to you as well so you are aware of the events.
Melanie Olson Mills: Jordan Meyer I am well aware of the events. There is no need to rebuttal every comment that I state as it could go on forever. I have my feelings you have yours.
Edmund Johnson: That is very true everyone can have their feelings on it but when you're misrepresenting the facts that it was done in secret you were spreading rumors. And if you voted in the last elections you vote for people to represent you they should not have to come ask every time they are going to do something. If you want to be the one making the decisions I guess you run for office
Eric Clevenger: Edmund Johnson actually that is what representatives are supposed to do. Represent the people's wishes.
Melanie Olson Mills: Edmund Johnson it is called my opinion and I am able to share as you share yours.