Friday, May 18, 2001

No decision made about police force

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        NEW MIAMI — Village Council made no decision Thursday night on the future of its police force.

        The news that council was considering disbanding the police department came as a shock to most of the 50 people who attended Thursday's meeting to oppose a proposal that the department be replaced by Butler County Sheriff's office personnel.

        “We're just looking at different options,” council member Paul Newton said.

        Vice Mayor Edith Cook said she had spoken with the Butler County Sheriff's Department about contracting for public safety services. She said that for $100,000 annually, the county would provide two full-time officers.

        “It's the overhead we would save,” she said. “Benefits, vehicle maintenance and payments on the equipment.”

        At the heart of the disagreement, some say, are issues of who runs this community.

        Four of the seven members of council are related, and many people attending Thursday's meeting said the family is trying to control New Miami.

        A newly formed community council has been encouraging residents to become involved.

        All parties agree New Miami faces a budget crisis.

        A federal grant funded a police force of four. With grant money gone, the force was pared to two. On Monday, Chief Danny Schultz announced his resignation, effective Saturday.

        “They say we can't afford to maintain our police department. How are they going to pay $100,000 a year to the county?” asked Krystal Murray, vice president of the community council.

        Some residents vowed a recall campaign aimed at Ms. Cook and her sister, fellow council member Patricia Lipscomb.

        “Their concern is not for the village but for themselves,” resident Linda Burns said.


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