CIRCLEVILLE – Staffing levels with Circleville Police department over the past year haven’t gotten better but worse according to the department.
“Recently, we have heard some rumors reference our staffing levels. We would like to take this opportunity to inform our community where our staffing levels currently stand. Yes, over the last few months we have lost multiple officers to higher paying jobs in the Columbus area. Nationwide there is becoming a shortage of law enforcement officers, and the central Ohio area has also been affected,” said the department in a Facebook post.
“This time last year we had 23 total officers, currently we are operating with 12 total officers. Administration, investigations, and SRO’s are currently assisting with patrol coverage. We want our community to rest assured knowing when they call, we will be there. Calls will be prioritized with high priority calls being handled first”
The department is counting on a safety levy that will be voted on in November by Circleville, if it passes it will bring Circleville’s Safety Forces back to basic levels, both Fire and Police. The Levy will increase the city tax rate from 2.0% to 2.5% for the period of 5 years to find safety forces. After 5 year the rate will decrease back to 2.0% and only another Circleville vote can continue that tax rate. The tax increase is also specifically earmarked for use for safety forces only, so the monies cannot be moved around and used to fund other expenses.
Councilwoman Michelle Blanton said, “In my opinion, now that we have placed a sunset rule on the levy of five years, we have no choice but to at least let this levy go to the ballot and let Circleville make a choice. The monies collected from the levy will not completely pay for Safety forces, so what is the harm in keeping those funds earmarked for them? The levy is the only solution on the table that will remotely get us where we need to be. If there were any other solutions, they would have been brought to the table. So let’s give our safety forces a vote of confidence and support them by passing the Levy ordnance with the supplementary language they want. I would prefer to pass the levy with the sunset rule that in five years the levy would go away. This would give City Council accountability. The sunset law and the supplemental language doesn’t mean that City Council stops asking questions on where current funding is going, in all honesty, we should have been digging into that question all along.”