Police coverage will be more extensive in at least two rural Burnett County towns, after the Siren Village Board approved a proposed contract with two neighboring towns – Meenon and Oakland – to offer shifts of village police coverage and enforcement outside the village.
The coverage will not only relieve pressure on the Burnett County Sheriff’s Office, but will, in theory, keep rural community crime more in check and keep from ‘spilling into the village.’
The proposal has been discussed at several levels of Siren government, and came before the full village board on Thursday, Nov. 4, where several of the village trustees raised concerns or offered support to at least try the proposal for much of 2022, starting in April 2022, with a trial period to start, allowing any of the parties to opt out at the end of the period.
The major concern had to do with how to dole out coverage, which has been tentatively set at 8 hours a week in each town, which would or will include any court time or research for a case that originated in either town.
In times when Siren Police are not scheduled to cover or assist with coverage in Meenon and Oakland, that is when the BCSO would handle all calls.
Both towns will share or adopt the statutes and ordinances from the village, so they know what the differences are, and for ease in enforcement.
Siren Police are assuming it will cost about $50/hour for the coverage, plus the cost of about 200 miles per week on the Siren squad in each town. Siren will also do the staff schedules, and Chief Sybers believes that after the coverage goes into effect, he expects some of the rural concerns to take note, thereby helping to possibly help with reduced village crime down the road.
Sybers said they will keep track of all expenses incurred during the coverage, and the bills will be sent to each town on a monthly basis. The coverage will also be in two-hour blocks and not eight hours at a time.
“I think it will be easy to track,” Sybers said. “Our system does it already.”
Trustee James Pearson also said that the affected towns have offered to attend monthly meetings to asses the program and make adjustments, if needed.
But not everyone was on board, as supervisor Janet Hunter was the lone ‘nay’ vote.
“I don’t know, it just worries me,” she said with a shrug.
After a brief debate, the Siren Board approved the proposal, to start next April and run until the end of the year.