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Redevelopment will bring in revenues that could help fund law enforcement

by Sheriff Ronald P. Pierini

Recently, there has been some controversy regarding redevelopment in the northern portion of Douglas County and how it may impact county services. It is my intention to address those issues that may affect law enforcement services. Whenever commercial or residential development plans begin, as is the case in North County, effective law enforcement service should be given consideration. Providing necessary proactive patrols and responding to calls for service are two important tasks that would no doubt be affected with any growth related plans.

As you may know, four years ago, Douglas County received a Community Oriented Policing (COP) federal grant that helped fund five new officers. Those officers remain productive members of our department today. Specifically, those officers were hired to supplement the patrol division by placing more officers to patrol your neighborhoods. Since that time we have not added any new patrol officers, primarily due to budgetary constraints. Calls for service have steadily increased; in fact, last year alone, calls for service increased by more than 4,000.

Whether redevelopment occurs or not, the fact remains Douglas County, as a community, will continue to grow. The need to increase our patrol officers on our streets should not be questioned. Since 1995, the population of Douglas County has increased by a minimum of 4.5 percent annually. Our citizens deserve the same quality of service that we have provided throughout the years. Redevelopment can and does impact law enforcement services. More notably, though, the consistent population increases over the last several years has most definitely contributed to the need for more officers.

The proposed redevelopment in the North Valley area will bring increased tax revenue that will help provide financial support to put more officers on the street. It is my intention to ask for five new patrol officers during the 2000/2001 budget process. It is also a distinct priority to pursue another COP federal grant that may fund approximately 50 percent of related costs for a period of three years, which will ease the burden to Douglas County taxpayers.

It is my hope that this article will clarify my position in regards to the redevelopment plans and the impact on police services.

Ron Pierini is the sheriff of Douglas County.