Who needs police? Not Cook, Minnesota which has voted to get rid of the department in a wave of budget cutting.
The Cook News-Herald has the play-by-play of the decision, written in the no-nonsense ways of the Iron Range.
Council member Storm added, "It's nice to have police in town," but then said, "Is it a luxury?"
Pastor Reuben Rosnau, who is a member of the Cook Volunteer Fire Department and the Ambulance Squad, spoke of the need for law enforcement at fires and with the ambulance and how the local police usually were there.
Arlee Olson... He spoke of Highway 53 going through Cook and the 10 roads coming onto it with the potential for accidents. He spoke of Cook having a pharmacy and the hospital and the drugs they hold. He told the council they were making a mistake dropping the police department.
Council member Dan Manick spoke of speeding, dangerous intersections and added they should "take into fact the human factor."
Mayor Edblom said it was strictly "dollars and cents."
Police Officer Dan Nylund told the council they could not enforce city ordinances since they didn't have a badge and the county wouldn't do it. Mayor Edblom said they would have to live with that. The elimination of the police will take place March l, 2009, after Nylund is given 60 days' notice.
Until then, Cook will have one police officer, and six people who serve on the "police committee." A final decision will be made after Cook finds out more about possible cuts to local government aid (LGA). According to the League of Minnesota Cities, Cook would lose $5,300 if LGA and/or the homestead credit is cut by $25 million, $28,000 if the Legislature cuts the program by $100 million.
Sperling's Best Places lists crime in Cook as a "4" on a scale of 1 to 10.
Cook, MN, violent crime, on a scale from 1 (low crime) to 10, is 3. Violent crime is composed of four offenses: murder and nonnegligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The US average is 3.
Cook, MN, property crime, on a scale from 1 (low) to 10, is 4. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The object of the theft-type offenses is the taking of money or property, but there is no force or threat of force against the victims. The US average is 3.
(h/t: Than Tibbetts)
I understand that Rice, MN had / is having the same conversation.
This had people in town talking, especially the businesses. But they can still have a police department if they are willing to pay more taxes, it is that simple. And lots of people who are talking about this don't live in town, hence don't pay taxed toward the town expenses.
This country needs to have good conversations, honest conversations: when you want something, are you willing to pay for it Now, not putting it into a deficit or asking some other unit of government to pay, or getting a "grant" or something.