By Kevin Boneske
Village Administrator Paul Evert said the contract provides Howard the same level of service it received this year with one patrol officer on duty year-round, 24 hours a day, another patrol officer available 16 hours every day and three directed enforcement officers.
He said the cost for police services will increase next year by 2% from $1.78 million to $1.82 million, with 2% annual increases also in 2023 and 2024.
Evert said the county has managed the Sheriff’s Office expenses well over the last three years while still adding to the investigation bureau.
“As a result of this arrangement, Howard will continue to have one of the lowest cost-per-capita expense for police service of any community its size in Wisconsin,” he said.
Howard is one of five county municipalities, along with Suamico, Bellevue, Allouez and Denmark, to contract with the Sheriff’s Office.
Chief Deputy Brad Brodbeck said an additional expense over the next three years will be the village’s contribution toward body camera purchases.
Brodbeck said purchasing the cameras was cost-prohibited in the past, before the Green Bay Packers agreed to assist with the initial cost of obtaining them.
He said originally the village’s share for the cameras would have cost $37,068 a year for for three years.
The donation from the Packers reduces the village’s share to $12,480 in 2022 and $24,774 in both 2023 and 2024.
Brodbeck said the Axon body cameras the Sheriff’s Office will use are designed to turn on automatically when an officer draws a firearm or activates a taser, as well as after a squad car’s emergency lights are turned on.
“It’s extremely important for our liability,” he said. “But, in the event of a critical incident, we’re hopeful that anything that would need to be captured (on video) would be. We’ve worked a long time on Axon to get the best price we could, and we’re confident that we did.”
“They’ve gone a long ways into the activations to make sure that anything that’s needed to be saved and recorded is captured,” he said.
Brodbeck said the Axon system software won’t require the Sheriff’s Office to hire additional administrative staff.
“Some of the products would have required us to add significant amount of man hours,” he said.
Brodbeck said the Sheriff’s Office anticipates a lot of open records requests initially upon the body camera system being implemented.