Attica seeks renewal of police levy

A police levy renewal for the village of Attica will be on Tuesday’s ballot, and officials in the village say passage of the levy renewal is crucial in maintaining the police department.

Attica Police Chief Keith Turner said the police department operates on two levies, the other of which was renewed in November. The five-year levies were established in 1989 and 1999 and generate about $40,000 each. The money is spent on personnel wages and fringes as well as operation expenses that include utilities, supplies, fuel, contracted services, equipment and debt repayment, Turner said.

“That’s how we support the police department,” he said.

Turner, who took office two years ago, said the police department recently has faced many adversities, especially in funding cuts. In 2010, the police budget was $133,000 and this year, it is $97,000, he said.

Because of the cuts, staffing the police department also has been a challenge, he said.

Turner is the only full-time police officer in Attica and he is supported by five part-time officers.

Without the renewal of the levy, the police department would have to cut its part-time officers, Turner said.

“It would be hard to even staff a full-time officer,” he said. “There’d be limited hours and very limited coverage.”

“It would really cripple us,” he added. “It would undo everything we accomplished up to this point.”

Attica Mayor Bryan Schock said Attica used to supplement its police department with money from the general fund, but after state funding cuts, the village is unable to do so.

“All the money that they use comes from those levies,” Schock said.

Schock said grants and local donations have helped the police department maintain operations. Using court fines received from traffic offenses also are used to assist in the operation of the department, Turner said.

Some recent department improvements made possible by grants and donations include bulletproof vests, weapons, in-car audio/video system, license plate auto reader unit, office interview room, village hall surveillance cameras and upgraded vehicles.