By Danny restivo
City council backs an effort that could create a new joint police force.
Council members unanimously approved a motion Monday to research creation of a joint police force with Hubbard and Brookfield townships.
The endorsement, which already has been approved by each township’s board of trustees, means the three communities will collectively apply for a grant from the Ohio Department of Development’s Local Government Innovation fund. If approved, the grant will allow the communities to collaborate on a feasibility study of a combined police force.
According to its website, “The Local Government Innovation Fund was established to provide financial assistance to Ohio political subdivisions for planning and implementing projects that are projected to create more efficient and effective service delivery within a specific discipline of government services for one or more entities.”
Through the program, community leaders are looking to seize upon the idea of consolidated services.
“What I’m looking for with the feasibility study is a collaborative effort that can help three communities improve in the delivery of services, as well as cost of savings,” said Hubbard Mayor John Darko.
The decision to move forward with the study is due to the fiscal situation faced by many local governments, said Brookfield Trustee Gary Lees.
“We’re just looking at how can help each other with the current economic climate the state has right now,” he said.
Lees said he “championed” the idea of a three-community police force, and he said may look at other services, such as emergency medical services, in the future.
He said Brookfield and Hubbard city and township have hired Grant Source Professionals LLC., Youngstown, as the writers for the grant application. Kathy Murdock is assisting in the application process and said she believes the endorsement from all three communities means the chances of state approval “look very promising.”
She said the cost of the study will be roughly $30,000, and the grant would cover 90 percent of the cost, while the participating communities would cover the remainder. If approved, she said Youngstown State University could conduct the study.