HUBBARD TOWNSHIP Poll: Voters oppose police merger
Of the 1,782 surveys sent out, 745 were returned.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HUBBARD -- Township voters are satisfied with their police department and opposed to merging with another force, according to a survey conducted last year as part of a comprehensive township land-use plan being developed.
The survey is significant because township and Hubbard city leaders are discussing a study to determine if merger of the two departments would be economically feasible.
Talk of the study surfaced at Monday's city council meeting.
"There is no proposal," township Trustee Fred Hanley said Thursday.
The only discussion has been about the feasibility study that will cost between $7,000 and $8,000 and possibly conducted by the Ohio Chiefs of Police Association.
The study, he pointed out, will take about a year.
Creation of a police district "is off the radar screen" for now, Hanley said. "It would be a good idea only if it saved money."
The survey returned by 745 of 1,782 residents who got them showed that 63.9 percent oppose combining the city and township police forces.
When asked if they wanted the township to merger with the sheriff's department or an adjoining township force, 86.1 percent were opposed.
When asked if they are happy with their police department as is, 91.3 percent indicated they are.
None of those who returned the survey recommended any improvement, said John Pieton, township zoning administrator.
Hanley said that should the feasibility study show a merger would be economically beneficial, the township would have to educate residents about the savings and possible reduction in taxes.
He said a discussion about a merger is premature because trustees are talking about building a shelter to store police vehicles.
Not helping city
The township is not going to the aid of the city because it needs a new police station. The aged city headquarters is plagued with health and safety issues.
"We're dealing with long-term costs and police protection," the trustees said, noting he and trustees Joseph Gleydura and Jonathan Dowell are in agreement.
Merging the township and city departments has been discussed for years.
The last time, Hanley said, was in February 2000, but it was rejected because it was deemed to not be cost-effective.
What is being discussed between the city and township is a joint radio system because officers can't communicate from some areas.
The two communities are also discussing joint dispatching to cut costs.