Florida city votes to disband police force www.privateofficer.com
Deltona, FL August 4, 2011 The City of Oak Hill may soon be following in the footsteps of other Volusia County municipalities and agencies that contract with the Volusia County Sheriff for law enforcement services. Currently the cities of Deltona and DeBary, the Town of Pierson, Daytona Beach International Airport and Volusia County Schools have service contracts with the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
The City Commission of Oak Hill voted, 3-2, on Monday, to immediately disband its’ Police Department which consisted of six paid Police Officers and operated under a public safety budget of $496,258.00 for the current fiscal year.
Oak Hill has an entire city budget of $1,134,442.00 for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011.
The salary of the now former Chief of Police of the city of less than 2,000 residents was $40,706.00.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office began immediate patrols within the city and responded to any citizen calls, but now the city must look to a permanent fix to the policing situation.
Commissioner Kathy Bittle stated that now that the Police Department has been cleaned out, she would have no problem re-instating the agency, if intense background checks were done before hiring personnel.
The other alternative would be to contract with the Volusia County Sheriff to provide law enforcement services full time on a contract basis.
One estimate given for Oak Hill to have Volusia Sheriffs’ service was an annual cost of $463,000.00 to include four deputies.
One deputy would be on patrol during each shift for 24-hour coverage.
According to Wendell Bradford, a Candidate for Volusia County Sheriff in 2012, the cost of service contracts varies widely among Volusia County municipalities and agencies that contract with the Sheriff.
During an interview on Daytona Beach radio station, WPUL 1590 Am, Bradford briefly addressed the Oak Hill situation and questioned the different amounts of money being charged municipalities, and feels they are being “over-charged and the money should go back to the taxpayers.” “Why is Deltona paying $8,729,714.00, or $124,000.00 each, for 72 deputies and DeBary the same for 23, while the Daytona Beach Airport pays $599,391.00 for eight deputies, $75,000.00 each.” “Volusia County Schools pays $1,153,275.00 for 14 deputies and has another $35,000.00 contract to do background checks on volunteers.”
During the interview, Bradford also questioned the transparency of the Volusia Sheriff’s budget submitted to the Volusia County Council for the 2011-2012 fiscal year, and the ability of the City of Oak Hill to pay what the Sheriffs’ Office may demand for protection.