A top cop co-op between cities ‘not likely’It’s unlikely the cities of Newport and St. Paul Park will share any police services, Newport’s city administrator said last week, despite the slashed state aid dollars and ongoing budget concerns plaguing the small city.
By: Jon Avise, South Washington County Bulletin
It’s unlikely the cities of Newport and St. Paul Park will share any police services, Newport’s city administrator said last week, despite the slashed state aid dollars and ongoing budget concerns plaguing the small city.
Newport administrator Brian Anderson and St. Paul Park administrator Kevin Walsh informally discussed the possibility of sharing one police chief between the two cities after Newport’s longtime chief, Veid Muiznieks, steps down in November.
But during budget talks last week, Anderson said the plan, which would have marked an unprecedented level in sharing of public safety services between the two communities, wouldn’t save enough money to justify the impact the move would have on police department morale and the city’s identity.
“It’s very unlikely it’s going to happen,” Anderson said in an interview. “I think doing a joint police force is out of the question.”
Walsh said the proposal piqued his interest when Anderson called last month. He said last week St. Paul Park was waiting for a formal proposal to discuss the possibility of sharing the services of St. Paul Park’s police chief, Mike Monahan.
The St. Paul Park administrator envisioned the set-up as similar to the charge-for-service arrangement that St. Paul Park and Grey Cloud Island Township currently have for police and fire services.
“I told (Anderson) that St. Paul Park could be interested in it,” Walsh said. “We didn’t have a lot of discussion … I said, ‘Yeah, we’d be willing to look at a proposal.’”
Both sides said any deal would involve a higher salary for Monahan. Anderson said he determined Newport would save only $25,000 or $30,000 per year — not enough, he said, to undertake melding the two police departments.
Monahan said such an arrangement would present some issues that would have to be addressed, like managing time between the two departments.
“It’s quite a task to run a police department,” he said. “There’s a lot to be done.”
But the proposal, Anderson said, is likely dead.
“There’s nothing wrong with being a small town with (an independent) police department,” he said. “As long as it’s run properly I think there’s quality in that. I think the residents like that and are willing to pay for it.”