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Pequot Lakes may provide police services to Emily

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Pequot Lakes police hope to embark on a pilot project to provide law enforcement services to the city of Emily.

The Pequot Lakes City Council agreed 4-1 Monday, Feb. 3, to pursue the idea. City council member Dave Sjoblad cast the opposing vote.

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“I wonder how wise this contract would be when things are in turmoil around here because of staffing issues,” Sjoblad said.

The city has a full-time officer on medical leave and has had others on medical leave in the past as well. Police chief Eric Klang did receive permission Monday to advertise to hire additional part-time officers to have a bigger pool to help fill shifts.

Other council members favored the idea of a contract with Emily, saying the risk was low if either city could opt out of the contract at any time if it didn’t think it was working. And it would be a way to bring money to the city.

A potential contract would be set annually. For 2014, a contract could run March 1-Dec. 31 for $40,375 for a part-time officer to work 30 hours a week in Emily.

The position would cost $26,875 for a part-time officer, and the remaining $13,500 would be used to cover expenses for the city of Emily’s squad car and other expenses.

Klang told the council the agreement with Emily would be similar to contracts the city has with the city of Jenkins and Jenkins Township to provide law enforcement services. Klang essentially would be chief, and a part-time officer would provide patrol services in Emily.

Emily’s police chief, Kyle Larson, is leaving that position March 1. Pequot Lakes Sgt. Chad Turcotte presented the contract idea to the Emily City Council on Jan. 27, and Klang said it was received favorably.

The Emily City Council has not yet made a final decision and is awaiting a draft contract to discuss.

If either city decides the contract isn’t working at any time, it could be canceled, Klang said.

Klang told the council in a memo that a police service district is a cost-saving method to provide more effective and efficient law enforcement services to communities.

A service district allows for resources to be pooled, provides one consistent point of contact and reduces the amount of duplicate expenses and work, allowing officers to spend more time on the streets.

Nancy Vogt can be reached at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook.

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