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Norton May Abolish Police Department

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Numerous township rely on county sherriff's departments to provide them with police services rather than maintain their own departments. But it's rare for a city to do away with an existing force. One Akron suburb is contemplating doing just that. ideastream political reporter Kymberli Hagelberg has more.

Thursday, October 25, 2007 at 4:00 am

On election day, November 6th, voters in Norton will decide whether to approve a charter amendment that would abolish the police department, and let city council hire the Summit County Sheriff or another municipal department.

Tom Jones, a city councilman and candidate for mayor, points to neighboring Green, which employs the sherriff's department, as an example of police protection that's smarter economically.

Jones: "The city of Green, they're paying a million-five. The population is almost three times of ours, their square miles is 10 miles bigger than Norton and they also take care of the Akron-Canton airport."

Jones said the sheriff's agreement also provides supervision and dispatching now handled by Norton.

Norton Police chief Greg Carris opposes the idea. He points out that Norton currently has more police per capita than Green has deputies, and that's aggod thing. And Jones' numbers are wrong.

Carris: "He's using what's budgeted. We're going to spend about $400,000 less. You would think he'd be applauding us for saving that kind of money."

Carris says response times to Norton's relatively few serious crimes would lengthen under Jones's plan, and coverage of two major highways that pass through the city would diminish.

Kymberli Hagelberg, 90.3 WCPN.

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