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 , 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 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

Jay Sykes June 06, 2012 at 08:25 PM
If a merger is under review, why isn't the solution that some of the Waukesha County suburbs used(Merton & Sussex do this) under consideration too. They contracted with the Sheriff's department to provide the local police services, at a significant financial savings. The local communities each decide, independent of each other, the required staffing levels and it costs them less than running a small police department.
David Tatarowicz June 06, 2012 at 09:37 PM
@Jay Normally I would agree with you --- when I lived in Maryland for a time, almost all police services there are from the county, except for the large independent cities like Baltimore that have their own departments. I would be very concerned with Sheriff Clark --- I believe he has shown that he is a loose cannon, capricious, vindictive and confrontational ........ not someone I would want providing our local police services !!
Jay Sykes June 06, 2012 at 10:33 PM
@David... I guess I wouldn't push it off the table before we see all the numbers and contrast/compare the advantages of the different possibilities. Clark won't be Sheriff forever,and this could take five years to implement. I'd expect this 'plan' to morph into the North Shore Police Department. As, eventually almost all NS cooperation has led to various NS mergers(noted in article). I do wonder if a NS Police Department could provide the service level appropriate(that we are accustomed to receiving) for each community at an equitable cost. I grew-up in the NS and have lived in 5 of the 7 NS communities,and currently pay property taxes in three of them. While I think WFB & Shorewood have enough similarities to combine police and Bayside and Fox Point could do the same, at the present time I'm not sure how Glendale RH and BD could fit in the puzzle.
WFB-DAD June 06, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Ok folks, here are the facts: Shorewood is interested in a merger because their Police station (the physical building) is literally falling apart and they desperately need a new one. Glendale is in serious financial trouble partially because of Port Washington and Bayshore TIF districts and because of this, they are often under staffed at the Police Department. Whitefish Bay is financially stable and healthy and is in no need of a new station. This merger would be beneficial to Shorewood and Glendale for these reasons and would only take away from local services and control in Whitefish Bay. The Whitefish Bay squads that you are accustom to seeing patrolling your parks, streets and alleys in an attempt to suppress the crime of Milwaukee and Glendale spilling over into your streets, would be scarce if a merger occurred. Squads would be leaving the streets of Whitefish Bay and would spend the vast majority of their time at Bayshore and other higher traffic areas. $70,000 a year savings per community? That may only be give or take $100 per household annually. My vote is NO, as the loss of services would be noticeable without enough savings to make it worthwhile.
John June 07, 2012 at 02:07 AM
The problem is MCSO, unlike the Waukesha County Sheriff, doesn't have any regular patrol areas outside of expressways, airport, parks, county buildings, and the hospital complex in Tosa. The Waukesha County Sheriff, and just about every other sheriff's office that provides contract policing, already provides regular beat patrol service to unincorporated areas. MCSO would have to create a whole new division to accommodate contract policing.
Shorelander June 07, 2012 at 02:11 AM
The group of communities that should consider this are Whitefish Bay, Fox Point, Bayside and River Hills. Those 4 are very similar. And there's NO NEED for a new building. Glendale and Shorewood, not so much. -- Before WFB starts more dealings with Shorewood/Glendale, they need to get this other group to the table.
Don Q June 07, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Jay, This is a great idea. I have presented this idea to Chris Swartz and was told that Shorewood residents would never decrease the police presence in the village. If you look at the village budget, we have 28 officers including two detectives. On average they make over 100K with salary and benefits. If we contracted with the Sheriff how many headcounts could we reduce that number by? I give Chief Banaszynski a lot of credit for driving the consolidation idea forward. I think he would make a great chief of a North Shore Police Department but it may not work out that way. Shorewood can't afford to build new police station on its own.
WFB resident 30 years June 07, 2012 at 01:31 PM
Imagine the amount of Crime our lovely little community will have when all our police are busy doing Glendale's and Shorewood's problems. I personally want police officers PREVENTING crime by driving past my home and being active here as often as possible. I don't want to lose our police presence and community identity. Why should we give up our officers? Is it worth it? Who is this really helping?
Mr. Wonderful June 07, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Wow. Let's just leave it at that.
Mr. Wonderful June 07, 2012 at 02:15 PM
First off, they are evaluating things. It may come down to more things like, consolidating new computer and communication systems, better synergies between training, buildings, equipment. Leveraging the specialization of a larger group of officers. Even if it were consolidated, I would see the current structure more as precincts, which may not be a bad thing, and that they would patrol and monitor the areas they currently monitor. I don't think your going to have all officers up at Bayshore.
Jay Sykes June 07, 2012 at 02:30 PM
@Mr W... I think the communications systems are unified now;Bayside is in the process of expanding their PD/village Hall to accommodate dispatching for all NS Police Departments and the NSFD. I think that all dispatch employees are on the Bayside payroll and the other 6 communities contribute, based on some type of formula.
David Tatarowicz June 07, 2012 at 04:32 PM
Unfortunately there are too many people who think like AWD that the WFB PD does active profiling --- and like AWD they are in favor of it --- although it may be known as White Folks Bay, there is no evidence that WFB PD does racial profiling. Of course when the AWD's of WFB go to the inner city in Milwaukee looking for hookers or drugs --- MPD does profile them as the reason they are probably there LOL
WFB-DAD June 08, 2012 at 02:31 AM
I must correct myself. I was far too generous with the $100 per household savings estimate. The proposed eventual savings (after the new building and other expenses are paid off) of $70,000 would only come out to $12.82 per household. I'm not great at math but here we go: $70,000 / 5,457 households = $12.82 per household annual savings; Or $70,000 / 14,163 residents = $4.94 per resident annual savings. I will forego an extra value meal from McDonald's once per year to keep our Police in Whitefish Bay.
Jay Sykes June 08, 2012 at 01:24 PM
The above story has Bullet points #1 -- 'less duplication,#2 --economies of scale with facilities usage and purchases'. It was sent out by the village managers I would expect to see a 7%-15% drop in annual operating costs from the initial merger presentation, maybe even 20%(the 'start-up',non building, capital costs might erase the operating savings for 2-5 years). These departments must be fairly efficacious, as is; it looks like there is no need to pursue this matter, as the loss of control appears much bigger than the savings.
Bewildered June 08, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Jay, you are 100% correct


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