Ham. Co. townships may soon pay for sheriff service

DELHI TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - The proposed Hamilton County 2012 budget includes a small increase over 2011 for the Hamilton County Sheriff's department.

But Sheriff Simon Leis is being asked to let the county's ten townships know that they will have to pay more than 75 percent of the cost if they want deputies to continue patrolling their area.

In the first of four public hearings on the budget at Delhi Park Lodge Thursday, no one signed up to speak in favor of keeping the keeping the patrols and only one person spoke altogether.

"Not only should it be cut, township patrols should be eliminated," said Greg Capell of Blue Ash. "Its an unfair situation when people like me who live in Blue Ash pay 100 percent for our own police. Then we also have to pay a share of certain other people's police as well."

Of the ten townships in Hamilton County, at least three - Crosby, Harrison and Whitewater - do not have their own police force.

"Its a challenging issue for everyone involved. And we don't want to take steps backwards in terms of public safety," said Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune.

"Some of the township trustees that have talked to me are not happy. They're definitely concerned. And I'm trying to work with them in order to come up with some other alternative that can at least make the patrols available," said Commissioner Chris Monzel.

Sheriff Simon Leis has already gone on record against the 2012 budget plan which would eliminate at least one hundred positions including 29 patrol officers. Now, the sheriff is being asked to pass along $4 million of the $5.3 million he spends on 65 patrol deputies to the ten townships.

That would potentially leave Crosby, Whitewater and Harrison townships with no law enforcement if they didn't pay.

"They're going to have to continue to receive patrols from the sheriff. They just simply do not have the budget to ramp up and create a new police force where they don't have one before," said Portune.

There are three more public hearings scheduled for the budget. The first is Monday at 7 p.m. at the Deer Park municipal building. On Oct. 19, it will be at the Hamilton County Commission building at 11:30 a.m. And on Oct. 20 at the Springfield Township Administration building at 7:30 p.m.

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