Councilmembers, overall, had little to say on the matter when it came to the issue of police coverage in the city of St. Maries.
Back in August, Mayor Tom Carver sat down with Benewah County Sheriff Dave Resser, Undersheriff Tony Eells and Commissioner Jack Buell to question whether the city received the coverage it was paying for.
The city previously operated its own police department, but in February 2017 contracted with the county to provide law enforcement within the city limits.
The city pays the county $336,595 annually for police coverage. The city budgeted $436,000 the last year it operated its own police force. That means the city saved $99,405 under the contract. The city also pays $5,885 a month for dispatch services.
When asked if they were happy with coverage or would like to see the city goes back to its own police force, councilmen did not have a consensus.
Amy Telford said she would be interested in hearing what residents think before she had any thoughts on the matter.
“I really have not heard from the community and until I do I’m not sure which way to go. I’m not here for myself and I haven’t had anyone give me any feedback,” she said.
Randy Saunders said there will always be issues and challenges with whether the city has its own force or contracts with the county for coverage. He said he wants to give citizens good law enforcement at the best cost. Defining what good is could vary, he said, from person to person.
“There’s a group exploring different ideas and I’m interested in the information they find out,” Mr. Saunders said. “I want to give both a fair hearing and look at the pros and cons.”
He added he was not sure if the coverage the city received presently was adequate.
“I don’t get out and walk as much as I used to but I have seen officers out. But others that maybe get out more than I do say they haven’t so I don’t know,” Mr. Saunders said.
Steve Dorendorf said he personally hasn’t seen a problem with the coverage but does question the amount the city pays as part of the contract as well as the dispatch fees.
Randy Willard offered no comment on the matter. Councilmen Ed Spooner and Laci Hanson could not be reached for comment.