Police patrols mulled

• Officer coverage is?discussed

TILTONSVILLE — With one officer for police coverage, the village of Tiltonsville is working on hiring new officers and receiving coverage from Yorkville police.

During a recent Tiltonsville Village Council meeting on Tuesday, the topic of police coverage was discussed. Tiltonsville Police Chief Jerry Davis is the only officer in Tiltonsville and works Monday through Thursday. The department is working on rehiring another officer who worked for Tiltonsville in the past.

“That would still only provide us with limited coverage,” Davis said. “We have been trying to come up with different ideas for police coverage. We laid guys off in the past when we didn’t have funding, and they found jobs elsewhere. They’re content where they are at, and we are having trouble getting them back — not that we had a big pool to pick from to begin with.”

Council member Mike Robey said pay needs to be competitive to get new officers in the village.

“We would like to pay our chiefs $19 an hour, full-time officers $15 and part-time $13,” Robey said. “We need to keep them around. If we find them, we need to keep them.”

Robey also said Yorkville proposed joint police coverage including Tiltonsville and Rayland. For regular scheduled shifts, Yorkville has 1,038 citizens to one officer; Tiltonsville 1,312 citizens to one officer; and Rayland does not have any officers for 396 people. The goal is to have two officers for Yorkville and Tiltonsville and one in Rayland during each shift.

Blair Closser, who recently retired as Yorkville’s mayor, said the villages have been talking about combining police forces for a few years. He said this would save the communities money while providing the right coverage.

“No one is looking at where an officer is from, they are just happy someone is there to respond,” Closser said. “Both police chiefs (Davis and John Morelli) are in favor. It is difficult anymore to compete salary-wise and it is hard keeping officers around.

“It could be a win-win for everyone in the villages.”

Mayor Ty Lollini said Rayland has struggled with funding but is considering being a part of the collaboration for police coverage. Yorkville, Tiltonsville and Rayland have already worked with each other to form coalition in 2014 to apply for shared grants.

“Rayland might have to do a pay to play type of thing,” Lollini said. “We could send an officer there if something happens, but they would still be charged.”

Robey said total cost of the police coverage would amount to $278,000 with $111,000 for Tiltonsville, $111,000 for Yorkville and $56,000 for Rayland.

“There are a lot of other things we need to discuss like legal agreements between the communities,” Robey said. “The sticking point right now is that we need to find a full-time officer, and maybe there’s some hope for that. We’re going to find out. We also need to figure out if we can really afford this other police coverage, too.”

There will be a joint meeting of the councils at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Yorkville Municipal Building to further discuss police coverage.