Sheriff’s office will supplement coverage provided by town police

By Dave Fidlin

Correspondent

Waterford officials have finalized a contract with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department as the village uses the resources of two local agencies for public safety in 2021.

The Village Board on Jan. 11 approved an agreement in the amount of $38,600 for the year with the sheriff for a deputy’s services.

The board’s vote comes on the heels of a pre-holiday meeting, where village officials inked a contract of $140,361.82 with the Town of Waterford Police Department for a dedicated police officer within the force.

Village Administrator Zeke Jackson said the dollar figures remain fluid and could be subject to further amendment as the year progresses.

“We’ll have to revisit the budget,” Jackson said. “This will be an ongoing budget monitoring process.”

The village has a history of contracting with both agencies. For decades, the sheriff had provided exclusive public safety services to the community, but the arrangement came to an end in 2016 when officials opted instead to contract with the Town of Waterford’s police force.

At the late December meeting, several Village Board members expressed interest in forming a local police force, though such an endeavor would likely be years in the making, based on discussions, because of the startup costs involved in such a venture.

 

Other business

In other recent business, the Waterford Village Board:

  • Adopted an ordinance to amend a section of village code in reference to alcohol operator licenses. Local changes are aimed at syncing up with state statute.

Wisconsin legislators recently gave municipalities the ability to appoint a staffer to handle issuance of operator licenses, rather than going though the process of having elected officials approve each one.

The new plan within the village calls for the clerk’s office to handle the licensing without board approvals. In a memo, Deputy Clerk Jody Beer described the prior system within village hall as “time consuming.”

“The process to check that the applicant meets the requirements … will not change,” Beer said. “The time and paperwork to issue (the licenses) will change by being reduced.”

  • Approved an agreement between the Waterford Fire and Rescue Department and Waukesha-based ProHealth to transfer patients in specific circumstances. The agreement pertains to advanced life support (ALS) and basic life support (BLS) services.

Because of the scope of the village’s emergency medical services program, ProHealth officials and Fire Chief Rick Mueller jointly agreed the agency has the capacity, equipment and trained personnel to transfer patients to health care facilities during critical incidents.

“I think this is fantastic all around — for your program and the bottom line,” Village President Don Houston said to Mueller of the proposal.

  • Discussed an effort from County Executive Jonathan Delagrave on a program aimed at expanding Internet access throughout the region.

Delagrave has been asking cities, villages and towns across the county to provide specific hot spots to expand Internet access to residents who might lack the financial means to connect to service.

“As county executive, I can attest to the tremendous challenges and opportunities Racine County faces to expand Internet access and close the digital divide,” Delagrave wrote in a letter.

Waterford officials have yet to identify a specific location for an Internet hot spot.