By Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
THE BYRON PERSONNEL COMMITTEE met with representatives from the city of Durand Wednesday, March 30 to discuss police coverage options for the village. Shown here are committee members (from left) Janet Cole, Ron Berecz and Tony Prestonise; and city of Durand employees (from left) City Manager Amy Roddy, Police Chief Jason Hartz, and Sergeant Tony Pletscher. (Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)
The Byron Personnel Committee met with Durand Police Chief Jason Hartz, Sergeant Tony Pletscher, and City Manager Amy Roddy Wednesday, March 30, to hear what kind of coverage Durand could provide the village of Byron, which has been without dedicated police coverage since January.
After reviewing Byron’s 2016-2017 budget, which includes roughly $30,000 earmarked for police personnel, Roddy said that Durand would like to start by providing 20 hours of police coverage per week. The Byron Village Council had discussed 40 hours of coverage at past meetings, but Roddy said that she would like to start out conservatively and review the situation quarterly.
She also added that resources must be set aside for car maintenance, litigation expenses and gas, but that Durand would be “very interested” in working with the village.
The personnel committee expressed its desire to use the Byron police car for patrols, though chairman Ron Berecz was unsure if the car was in working order. The village council, though, has an opportunity to take advantage of a Rural Development grant that would cover 60 percent of the expense of buying a new car, which Byron President Kit Brunell is currently looking into.
The group discussed a staggered patrol schedule that would give the village a consistent police presence, while also keeping potential criminals guessing as to when police would be in the village. Along those same lines, the Byron police car has, in the past, been parked behind the village hall when not in use, which tipped people off to when the police were not on duty. Durand’s proposal calls for the car to be parked in Durand when not in use, which would also presumably be cheaper than paying Durand officers to drive to Byron in their own personal vehicles.
The group also discussed policing strategies during the meeting. Berecz said, and Hartz agreed, that it is more effective to pull cars over and give initial warnings than to start ticketing every person that breaks the laws. Ordinance enforcement was also discussed, as was parade participation and possible cost-sharing with the Byron Area Schools. Durand Police Chief Jason Hartz said Durand would try to dedicate the same officers to patrol Byron in an effort to build rapport with residents.
The Byron Village Council will meet Monday, April 11, and Roddy said that her office will put together an outline of what Durand can offer for review at that meeting.