3 North Shore Communities Consider Feasibility of Police Force Merger
Shorewood Police Chief David Banaszynski has pitched the idea of consolidating Shorewood and Whitefish Bay’s police departments, most recently in late February 2011, but discussion has now expanded to include the City of Glendale.
Three North Shore communities have agreed to take a serious look at whether consolidation of their police forces is a viable move.
Shorewood Police Chief David Banaszynski has pitched the idea of consolidating Shorewood and Whitefish Bay’s police departments, most recently in late February 2011 to the Whitefish Bay Village Board, but discussion has expanded to include the City of Glendale. Officials from each municipality have met several times to discuss the merits of consolidating police services, according to Shorewood officials.
In a memo, village managers, presidents and mayors from the three municipalities said consolidation would provide for:
- less duplication,
- economies of scale with facilities usage and purchases,
- better training and more opportunities to train on duty,
- better-unified command for major occurrences.
But it is apparent that a merger might result in some loss of local control and the ability to direct the local police department to address issues deemed to be local priorities, officials said.
The group of officials also agreed that when reviewing personnel costs, which usually account for more than 90 percent of a department’s expenses, a consolidation is financially feasible.
Banaszynski’s plan presented last February calling for a merged department between Whitefish Bay and Shorewood would eventually save each community $70,000 annually.
Officials say they will still need to dive deeper into how operational costs would be shared among communities, when villages and cities can expect the savings to occur, how to fund a new police facility and a timetable for staff reductions. Banaszynski has proposed a new police facility at the vacant AB Data building at 4057 N. Wilson Dr. in Shorewood.
The North Shore is no stranger to sharing services among municipalities.
There's already the North Shore Fire Department, the North Shore Library and Shorewood and Whitefish has recently merged their joint health department with the North Shore Health Department, which serves Glendale, Bayside, Brown Deer, Fox Point and River Hills.
Most recently, Whitefish Bay, Shorewood and Glendale have combined their dispatch center with the rest of the North Shore.