Law enforcement double dipping

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 18, 1999

From staff reports

It could be a showdown on Broadway.

Wednesday, August 18, 1999

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It could be a showdown on Broadway.

&uot;This law enforcement center isn’t big enough for both of us.&uot;

While space isn’t the issue, who’s paying for it is.

Currently Albert Lea residents are paying more than their fair share for policing the city. In addition to funding the Albert Lea Police Department, they are also paying a significant part of the county’s tab.

While it might seem equitable since the city is responsible for 75 percent of the calls to the LEC, many forget the city residents are also county residents.

So, county residents, or people in the county, actually make 100 percent of all the calls to the LEC on any given day.

What does the city get for its added expense? A second police force.

Albert Lea residents, along with those in Glenville and Alden, have the luxury of knowing police officers are watching their city streets with a closer eye.

Rural residents need to share the deputies who cover a much larger area.

While it’s a great benefit, and one worth paying for, the city taxpayers are still getting robbed by law enforcement.

City residents are actually paying well over the two-thirds and 50 percent of expenses seen in the current agreement. In addition to paying for all the city expenses, Albert Leans are paying a large share of the county’s levy.

As a result, 55 percent if the county’s population is paying part of both the city and county law enforcement budget.

It’s a double dip.

In the end, it’s easy to see why county officials think the current agreement works and why city councilors don’t.

A more equitable agreement needs to be reached.

Even if the city and county split expenses 50-50, city residents will pay more. Law enforcement will always be a double dip.

But, that’s only fair, since the city residents benefit from the manpower of two separate, yet cooperating, law enforcement agencies.

Avoiding a showdown on Broadway is in everyone’s best interest – for a safer and fairer community.