Will a combined police station housing Sandusky and Perkins police departments even work?
For the moment, the answer isn't important.
For now, we're with Perkins Township Trustee Tom Pascoe: Good idea? Bad idea? Don't know. But we intend to find out.
What's important is that such a question is even being asked -- and being taken seriously on both sides of Perkins Avenue's yellow line.
Such a question was unthinkable even a couple years ago. Witness the venom spewed on both sides when a Sandusky school board member had the temerity to suggest merging the two school districts -- venom that's noticeably absent in the current discussion, though it's had plenty of time to build.
Maybe it's because the proposal calls for Perkins police to keep their separate identity. Maybe it's because Perkins people don't invest their identity in their police as much as they do their schools. Maybe it's because the thought of working with neighbors is more palatable than it has been in the past.
Maybe it's because the folks pushing the proposal from the city side are quick and vehement in their denials this is the prelude to annexation.
The "A" word hovers just beneath the surface of any city-township discussion, a 40-year-old ghost of a bitter, poorly remembered dispute. It's the local man-on-the-grassy knoll, the local 181â2-minute gap in the tape.
It's time to banish that ghost, because the kind of cooperative attitude that sparks talks of a joint police station is not only welcome, it's necessary.
Populations and resources are declining, and budget shortfalls are adding up. There's more to do and less with which to do it, and as already has been recognized, problems and opportunities do not honor political boundaries.
Local governments, city and township included, will of necessity begin combining efforts toward common goals. What was once unthinkable may become inevitable.