• January 2013: Financial reasons forced Perkins Township trustees to eliminate four full-time police positions, including laying off three people. The number of full-time township police roster spots drops from 20 to 16.
• May 2013: Township residents overwhelmingly support a levy to create about $2 million a year solely for police operations. The money, among other reasons, aims to eventually replenish the police department’s full-time staffing levels. Original estimates pegged the levy money producing about $1.9 million a year.
• Mid-to-late 2013: Trustees restore two of the eliminated positions after finding additional money in the budget and negotiating with the union. The number of full-time police roster spots increases from 16 to 18.
• Spring 2014: Trustees hire one additional full-time officer, increasing the number to 19.
• August 2014: Trustees hire one additional full-time officer, increasing the number to 20.
Source: Perkins police
Some might contend 20 is plenty in terms of how many full-time cops patrol Perkins Township.
But area police commanders believe it's the right number to adequately protect 12,000-plus residents and many more traveling through Perkins.
Township officials recently, and finally, restored the full-time police roster to 20 spots, the number of officers Perkins police had before a budget crunch forced reductions from almost two years ago.
Earlier this week, trustees approved adding the department’s 20th full-time officer.
The appointment would’ve occurred sooner, Perkins police Chief Ken Klamar said, but this new officer hurt herself while training.
“Our 20th full-time employee will bring us to the levels we had back in 2012, and it will allow us to staff the shifts to the most potential we can get out of our officers,” Klamar said. “We don’t have to rely on part-time people to help us cover shifts. We can now rely on them for (extra) help to beef up shifts on the weekends and different holidays when we see an increase in traffic and crashes.”
Several financial factors, including receiving less money from state coffers and local property taxes, forced township trustees to eliminate four full-time police positions in January 2013, dropping from 20 to 16.
The eliminations included laying off three full-time officers and scrapping one vacated position.
To neutralize the losses, township officials and police commanders charged forward with a tax levy solely supporting police operations.
The plan worked: By more than a 2-to-1 margin, Perkins Township residents in May 2013 supported the levy, creating about $2 million a year from 2014 through 2018. Original estimates pegged the levy money producing about $1.9 million a year. The department also receives an extra $300,000 annually from other revenue sources, such as grants.
Had a majority of voters rejected the tax, the township would’ve been forced to further cut staffing levels or disband police operations.
But extra funding allowed trustees to incrementally recall these positions back ever since mid-2013
Many residents, among other reasons, voted for the levy so police commanders could employ at least 20 full-time officers.
“We had campaigned that we would work to restore the manpower in the police department if this levy passed,” Klamar said. “We are staying true to our word.”
Klamar said not enough money exists in his budget to add anymore full-time officers beyond 20.