Enterprise Considering Doing Away With Police Force

By: Lindsey Rogers Email
By: Lindsey Rogers Email

DICKINSON COUNTY, Kan. (WIBW) -- Enterprise officials are considering not having a police department anymore and contracting with the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department.

It’s not because the city can’t afford a police force but when their police chief left for another job, officials started to weigh their options and see where they could save money.

"This just gives us an opportunity to see what would be best at this time," said Mayor Tom Decker about the talks.

It would save the town about $20,000 a year. In exchange, sheriff’s deputies would patrol less than half the amount of time Enterprise police do.

"Our police department usually puts in over 470 hours a month and the talks have been to get 200 hours a month from the sheriff’s department which that would come to around $88,000 a year. Our police budget is $107,000 a year. And we’re not doing it because we can’t afford to have the police department. I guess it’s just since the chief left, it’s just something we can discuss and look at doing," explained Decker.

The towns of Solomon and Hope have contracts with the Dickinson County Sheriff's Department. Decker says Enterprise officials have conferred with leaders from both towns to discuss the pros and cons.

"The Dickinson County Sheriff's Department has two deputies that are on the road most of the time, 24/7. I think Dickinson County is 875 miles square so the two deputies patrol that 24 hours a day," Decker said.

Some residents in the town of 855 support the move while others have expressed concerns over response times.

Cherise Achi, longtime Enterprise resident, told WIBW: "There are pros and cons to everything. The pro here would be to save money for the city but at the same time, it’s nice to have a cop here. If something happens, one is here immediately instead of having to wait for the sheriff’s deputy to come from Abilene or wherever he is in the county. Growing up here, it was always a nice thought to have someone in town at all times to be on the safe side- not that much happens here but I think they should keep it the way it is."

"Usually if something happens, the Enterprise police respond first and then the Dickinson County Sheriff comes in after that and it takes 5-10 minutes to come from Abilene so if it’s a real dire emergency, you have to wait that extra time for the sheriff’s deputy to come,"

LaRae Miller, also longtime Enterprise resident, thinks the change would be cost efficient.

"I feel bad for the police officers that would lose their jobs because of the economy but sheriff’s deputies are driving through here all the time and I just think it would be a good idea. I think it would be more cost efficient," she said.

An open city meeting will be held January 26th at 1 PM in the basement of the library for citizens to share their thoughts on the matter.

"I personally want to hear what the citizens have to say about it. They’re the ones paying for it. We’ve had law enforcement in this town for a long time. It's what they want and what they're comfortable with," Decker said.

Officials plan to come to a decision in February.

In the meantime, Enterprise leaders are also conducting interviews with applicants for police chief. The town does have an acting chief for the time being.

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