Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

In Venice, Work to Keep Police

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

In Venice, Work to Keep Police

Article excerpt

BUDGET: Some bristle at idea of partially relying on Sheriff's Office for patrols

VENICE

There is no need for the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office to send deputies to patrol city streets or inmate work crews to Venice, a majority of council members said.

Councilman Bob Daniels, who put the proposal on Tuesday's agenda, said it would save Venice money and resources by allowing deputies to patrol the city at night and work crews doing maintenance projects.

But other council members took offense at his suggestions.

"This council, certain people, want to dissolve our city," Councilman Kit McKeon said.

He suggested those people should move out of the city.

"By God, we owe our citizens the services they have come to expect," he said, without expecting the police department to make further, deeper cuts.

Vice Mayor Jeanette Gates said the proposals were thrown out at a previous council meeting merely as ideas of ways to save money. She heard from constituents afterward.

"It's clear to me that the citizens want their Venice Police Department and they want it as it is," she said. "It's our job right now to figure out how to make that happen and how to make it sustainable."

Gates asked the council to approve City Manager Ed Lavallee and Police Chief Tom McNulty to come back in 30 days with three specific ways to save money so the department did not also end up like the fire department, which the city is considering ceding control to the county.

"My suggestion is to lay off the fire and police and start looking at things that people are not as concerned about," Councilwoman Deborah Anderson said.

Councilman Jim Bennett agreed, saying he did not like the idea of second-guessing the police force, which should not have to be concerned about saving money or worrying about someone else patrolling their territory.

If more patrols are needed, the city needs to hire more officers, he said, and not rely on the Sheriff's Office, which is currently asking county officials to add $800,000 to its budget.

Councilman Emilio Carlesimo said there is no doubt his mind that the people he represents want to maintain a full-service city and independent police and fire departments. …

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