While Gaylord City Council members feel the city has more to lose than gain, the city will pursue discussions on merging its police department with Arlington’s department.
Gaylord Police Chief Tony Padilla said the proposal can work in the long run. Initially, the proposed merged department would be an operational challenge. Issues to be addressed, the Gaylord Hub recently reported, include hours of patrol, staffing and equipment. Arlington’s police budget is about $70,000 smaller than Gaylord’s. Arlington’s 2016 police department budget of $294,000 included a police chief, two full-time officers and two part-timers. The part-time positions were eliminated this year in favor of a contract with the county sheriff’s office.
Gaylord budgeted $365,000 for its police department in 2016. The department includes a chief, three full-time officers and three part-timers.
Arlington is currently without a police chief. Padilla said his department’s commitment to community policing has officers giving two hours a month of time to community schools and community organizations. Gaylord City Councilors fear losing the community focuses if the departments were merged.
Padilla said the structure and services offered by a merged department would determine the budget if the two cities agree to the merger.