BUTLER TWP. — Butler Township will soon have an additional police officer patrolling the Township after the township trustees authorized the department to increase staffing from 16 to 17 officers.
The salary and benefits for the officer for the remainder of 2017 and 2018 will be paid for through asset seizures from the township’s participation in Montgomery County’s drug task force.
Coupled with the return of an officer who had been serving a tour of duty in the military, the additional officer will see police staffing levels return to their highest levels in at least five years. That’s a stark contrast
“There are certain shifts we can now have three cars on the road,” said Police Chief John Porter. “We now have an auxiliary officer that’s working one night a week for free and hope to have more in the future. It’s a good feeling to be able to get them out in the community. Our officers are happy with the direction we are going. We think this is a good community and hopefully we are making some good, positive changes.”
“Chief Porter has done a remarkable job and its nice to actually be staffed higher than we were before,” said Trustee Joe Flanagan.
Flanagan noted that when the department was short-staffed, the amount of overtime being worked by officers was troubling.
“Not only was it not healthy for them, but it was dangerous for the officers and dangerous for the public,” he said. “We are now in a much better position to protect the citizens of Butler Township and to give them what they want – an exemplary and functioning police department.”
Flanagan had pushed to disband the police department in 2016 in favor of contracting with the sheriff’s office for police services. That contract would have provided just nine full-time deputies while sharing 4.5 sergeants and three other deputies with Harrison Township.
That deal didn’t come to fruition after it was determined the township’s police levy could not be used for a contract with the sheriff.
Last November township voters approved a new police levy that fully funded the police department and allowed it to begin the process of becoming fully staffed.
During Monday’s meeting, the trustees also voted 2-0 to make permanent the township’s prohibition on medical marijuana cultivation, processing, and retail dispensaries. The trustees first approved a 6-month moratorium in March.
Trustee Mike Lang and Fiscal Officer Mark Adams were absent from the meeting.
The trustees also made text changes to further define permitted and conditionally permitted uses in the Regional Commercial Service District (RCS-1) Zoning District. Those changes include the removal of automobile sales, service, and rental as a conditional use.
In other action, the trustees certified 2018 tax rates to the Montgomery County Auditor and approved the 2018 budget for the Butler Township-City of Dayton Joint Economic Development District. That budget will result net $60,550 for capital expenditures.
Trustees also amended revenue and appropriations budgets for 2017 due to unanticipated revenue as well as more salary expense in the police department.
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.