Southlane

Should Creswell have a police department?

Should Creswell have a police department?

CRESWELL, Ore. - A bump in property crime and a shooting last week has a couple of city council members thinking the police status quo in Creswell is not good enough.

One idea on the table is for a revived city police department.

Creswell is a city, but its police department is the Lane County Sheriff's Office. The contract is $411,000 a year for two deputies and one third of a supervisor.

"The city definitely needs to have more policing.  The big problem is, we don't have 24 hour coverage," explains city councilman Jacob Daniels.

Councilors Daniels and A.J. O'Connell say too many people in the town of 5,000 don't feel safe.

O'Connell said, "Individuals in the community, individuals and families are scared to go outside, scared to leave their homes in the friendly city."

They say they'll ask the city council next Monday to OK a study of police options as the first step.

Daniels says all ideas are on the table, and that includes possibly expanding the contract with the Lane County Sheriff's Office to provide more deputies. "We're looking at all sorts of alternatives.  We'd like to see the possibility of bringing on an additional deputy.  Potentially partnering with another city," says Daniels.

In a new development, Daniels says he'll meet with Lane County Sheriff Tom Turner later this week to see if more deputies could be a stop-gap measure, at least through next June. "That money would come out of road funds from the county, and that's only going to be a temporary fix, that's a one time thing," said Daniels.

O'Connell says an old 2009 study by the city only looked at costs for a city police department.  He's convinced a new study would provide better answers for everyone. "The cost will be a factor, but we're putting out for a study to find out what exactly that cost is going to be, before we talk about the next step," says O'Connell.