Wednesday, July 19, 2000

Flier wrong on forming police force, trustee says

Deerfield group plans town meeting

By Kevin Aldridge
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEERFIELD TWP. — Trustees President Bill Morand on Tuesday blasted a citizens group for distributing fliers he said contained inaccurate and misleading information about trustees' efforts to form an independent township police department.

        Citizens for Quality Police Protection, made up mostly of citizens opposed to the police measure, passed out more than 3,500 fliers to township homes last weekend.

        The fliers announced a town meeting the group organized for Thursday to discuss the issue. They also contained charts and figures comparing the township's contract with the Warren County sheriff and a proposed budget for a township-owned police force.

        Dorette Landis, one of the founding members of the group, said she hopes the fliers will draw a large crowd to Thursday's informational meeting at 7:30 p.m. in the Kings High School auditorium.

        “The group circulating these fliers might be well-intentioned, but it certainly is ill-informed,” said Mr. Morand, who has endorsed the creation of a township police force. “The cost differential between the current contract and an independent department is very small.”

        Citizens for Quality Police Protection says in its fliers that a township-owned police force with 14 officers would cost taxpayers $650,000 more than what the township now pays the sheriff for 16 officers.

        Mr. Morand said those numbers are inflated.

        “That's either dumb math or outright lying to the public,” he said.

        Mr. Morand said the township spends closer to $1.2 million yearly for police protection — money generated by a tax levy residents have been renewing since the 1970s. Citizens for Quality Police Protection's claim that the township spends about $974,000 a year on police is a distortion, Mr. Morand said.

        “It is disappointing to see a few misguided individuals using scare tactics for their own narrow political ends,” he said.

        But Rick Spiekerman, a member of the group and husband of Township Clerk Kristin Spiekerman, said there is no political agenda and the numbers quoted on the fliers come directly from a police study trustees commissioned this year.

        “Our goal is to get all the facts out on the table for public consumption. That's all,” he said. “Why do we want to form a police department? Why do we want to have more control? How are we going to improve the quality of service? These are all questions that have not been explained fully to me yet.”

        Mr. Spiekerman said he is neither for nor against an independent township police department and thinks Mr. Morand is overreacting.

        “My question is: Why are trustees so opposed to having an open forum with residents?” he said. “I would think they should look at this as a positive opportunity to interface with the community, not an attack. We really want to keep this thing positive.”


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