The cost of safety services will increase in Prairie Township

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

A local township will continue to work with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, despite an increase in cost.

At a recent meeting, the Prairie Township trustees approved a 4.69 percent increase, paying the county just over $1 million for the year.

This is a continued increase over previous years. In 2018 the contract was $890,938, in 2019 the contract was $910,363, in 2020 the contract was $969,716, and in 2021 the contract was $995,676.

The agreement includes two dedicated cars 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and one dedicated car 16 hours a day, seven days a week. According to the sheriff’s office, other services include, but are not limited to full service, swat team, bomb team and the bike unit.

According to township officials, the increases are due to several variables.

“These include personnel and equipment,” said James Jewell, township administrator. “The deputies received annual raises and health care costs increased. The costs for maintaining the cruisers increased also, which included fuel prices and equipment maintenance.”

While the township does not have a limit on how much they will spend with the sheriff’s office, they did say each year they will examine the contract and the needs of the community.

“The township administrator works with the trustees and the fiscal officer to determine an appropriate investment in the patrolling of our community,” Jewell said. “We review the growth in the township and possible increase in crime to determine annually the amount of hours needed.”

Jewell added that there is not a limit on how much the sheriff can increase the contract each year, but that it must be justifiable and agreed upon by the board.

When asked if the township has ever considered having its own police service, Jewell said that is not something they are considering.

“If we had our own law enforcement department, we would need enough staff to cover vacation, sick leave, holidays, and personal time off,” Jewell said. “We would also need multiple layers of management to efficiently run our own department.”

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