Police face layoffs

Sandusky police commanders believe a looming deficit could severely handcuff operations.
Andy Ouriel
Dec 31, 2013
City commissioners recently proposed whittling down Sandusky’s $1.1 million deficit by slashing funding levels in various departments.

Among the tentative cuts: a $70,000 cut to the police department, amounting to axing one full-time officer.

The police department employs 45 full-time officers today.

Outsiders might claim the proposed police reduction represents small potatoes when considering the $70,000 totals:    

• About 6 percent of the $1.1 million deficit.

• About 1.5 percent of the police department’s $4.7 million annual budget. But beyond the numbers, these proposed cuts carry major ramifications, Sandusky police Chief John Orzech said.

At this time, Orzech said he can’t slash expenses without shedding workers.

Consequences of police layoffs
 Reduction or elimination of part-time officers, often called reserves.
• Reduction or elimination of court, evidence and training officers.
• Elimination of two officers patrolling in one car.
• Elimination of narcotics unit, including officers scaling back on investigating drug complaints.
• Elimination of community liaison program, where officers visit area organizations to foster goodwill.
• Cuts in detective bureau.

Salaries, wages and health benefits account for close to 90 percent of the proposed police budget in 2014. Officials have already cut travel, training, supplies, materials and other expenses needed for police operations.

Dropping manpower levels below 45 would trigger a series of staffing setbacks.

Sandusky’s union contract stipulates all reserve, or part-time, officers must be laid off prior to any full-time officers leaving for financial reasons.

When matching up salaries, about six part-time salary wages equals one full-time officer’s gross pay, when accounting for salaries and benefits.

Losing the reserves unit, consisting of eight employees today, means fewer officers patrolling during crime-heavy times, such as summertime, nights and weekends.

Also at risk of being eliminated: Two-officer patrols in one car and a community liaison program, aiming to foster goodwill between police personnel and area organizations.

“I would consider any reduction in current staffing levels as being problematic and detrimental to the services the Sandusky Police Department will be able to provide,” Orzech said. “The overall operations will be affected, the safety of our officers and citizens will be jeopardized and the perception of crime in Sandusky will adversely impact future economic development”

City officials want to avoid laying off police officers.

But it’s a necessary measure to erase the city’s red ink, many contend.

In fact, the police department faces minimal staffing setbacks when considering the fire department could lose 11 percent of its full-time work force during this fiscal crisis.

“No one wants to make these cuts,” commissioner-elect Dennis Murray Jr. said. “That’s the last thing we want to do. Our revenue stream has been cut, and we need a budget that faces the reality we face”

Orzech plans on talking with union representatives in hopes his officers can make concessions to offset the deficit.

Earlier this year, representatives negotiated a three-year pact — which includes annual 1.5 percent raises in each year — for a new labor deal. These raises amount to $120,000 over the contract’s life.

“We are open to discussion on anything,” said Douglas Behringer, an attorney representing Sandusky’s police union. “It doesn’t necessarily mean everyone will agree. It just means we can discuss things”



It's really simple. If you want things to remain the same put up a new tax. Vote on it. Let the people decide. This vote should of happened in May.

This deficit was known by the city manager and commissioners at that time. Were they expecting a miracle?


Raise Admissions tax and keep the officers. Cut Ard's salary in half, save $65,000.

dorothy gale


Peninsula Pundit

Gun sales are at new records and Zimmerman walked.
Maybe folks are thinking we can take care of ourselves and do with a few less police.
Happy New Year!
(I think the donutguy might have a vested interest in this issue. More Cops, More Donuts)



Bingo! Have a Happy New Year.


Come on Peninsula, your ignorance is showing!


Better than being ignorant with his peninsula showing.

Peninsula Pundit

I am very little interested in pronouncements from folks who fancy themselves as 'topcop' or 'babymomma.'If you can't see the ignorance of your monikers, you must not be able to recognize what it is. Sort of 'blinded by the light,' as it were.
A well-armed citizenry, knowing they have nothing to fear if they 'stand their ground', is all the law enforcement we need.
Happy New Year.


I wasn't trying to offend you in any way. It was simply a joke. You take this forum entirely too seriously. Happy New Year to you as well.


I guess I can see how you thought I was agreeing with topcop. I was making a penis joke, that is all.


I can hear it now....slower response time, gun fire like the OK corral. This too shall pass. WAGES are the key to this issue.

Intelligent Citizen

Yes, because the people who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect yours should have their wages cut.

Comrade Boose

Fair wage for a fair job, I think they are doing an excellent job for the wage they receive. " Save city services tax the tourist"

Simple Enough II

The question I ask of you is it the activities of the tourist who cause Sandusky to require so many officers or would it be the activities of the residents of Sandusky? When you answer that then you will know who should carry the burden.


My biggest problem with your statement is that 99% of the criminals don't pay taxes. So it would be us working victims paying for our protection against these thugs. My advice is everyone go spend the money you would have spent to keep the cops around, and go buy a pistol and a couple boxes of ammunition. We need to start killing these people off. Jail costs too much and teaches them how to be a better criminal. They come in your house....shoot to kill.

Peninsula Pundit

So now you agree with me.
Make up your darn mind, if you are able.


When did I disagree with you? Wow.....calm down lady!


Elimination of two officers patrolling in one car Now this is a laugh as well as sad , I can not recall the last time I seen two officers in one car .


SPD had 45 cops and SFD has 53 firefighters. looks a little lopsided. eight more persons on the squad and fire truck looks strange. Lets cut each department to 45. Then lets cut wages on both then lets get cut.


Hey moron you cant cut SFD to 45. The minimum amount of man power for a city our size is 47. Actually if you look at it the cops have more man power then the cops do. Who really saves live? Sure aint a cop. They shoot people or tazer them.


If in fact your are a retired firefighter, it was time for you to retire. Fire and police officers are equally important.

Simple Enough II

Only if they do their job and show up for work, rather than playing the system (most don't, but they are out there).

Peninsula Pundit

I disagree, Sam. We can fix most law enforcement issues ourselves.
It's called 'self-policing'.
But I don't have the facilities or equipment to save a life or put out a fire.
Thus I would posit we need firefighters and EMT's much more than police and if it came down to a vote, most reasonable people, having to choose one or the other, would not choose police.


AS usual I disagree with you but, for hypothetical argument make the fire department part-time or volunteer with a per call stipend. According to NFPA (FEMA) 85% of departments are volunteer now. An small increase in homeowners insurance would be more than offset in a reduction of property taxes. Privatize the rescue squad and charge each user per call, look how much we saved. I would rather keep both departments as is and cut and or eliminate nice to have but not necessary parks and recreation departments. Another lesson learned in Sandusky, don't take federal grants for personnel unless you have a funding source when the grant expires.

Peninsula Pundit

Agreed, Firefighter.


It's time to start using part-time fireman like Perkins, Margretta, Huron, Port Clinton and many other areas. Terminate EMS runs, and people can call North Central. They just might stop using fire & police for a taxi service.


No big deal...in the country things are the same. Those that scoffed at decent jobs leaving can talk now......

Simple Enough II

Hmm was it a perkins township cop or a Sandusky cop who was sleeping on the job?


Clearly someone who couldn't make the grade to become a fireman or police officer, or their view was from the back seat of police vehicle.

Simple Enough II

Actually only the back of a shore patrols car once. No I strongly feel in the majority of instances LEO are after the fact, so it is better for one to be vigilant, accept responsibility for my own safety & well being. I have also seen shoddy work after having LEO called to my residence over a DV situation when some one showed up on my doorstep requesting help. Nah just a realist.