The document eliminates the Alpine Police Department and sets $60,000 aside for a future contract with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office.
Councilman Troy Greene, Councilwoman Marietta Lanphear and Mayor Kennis Lutz supported the measure. Councilman Dave Jenkins and Councilman Don Jorgensen opposed.
“By no means are we going to give that money to the sheriff’s department until we have a contract in place,” said Mayor Kennis Lutz. “In that contract we can specify which town ordinances the county will enforce in our town. The contract will allow the Sheriff’s Department to be proactive instead of reactive in its coverage of Alpine.”
Public concern with doing away with the Alpine Police Department centered on officer response time to Alpine and paying $60,000 in town funds and potentially not receiving any additional coverage.
Additional concerns expressed by citizens included the potential dangers associated with a valley perception that there is not law enforcement in Alpine.
“What I look for from a town is basic services,” said Jim Triplett. “Water, sewer, police department — everything else is options. I like all of those other things. But they are not necessary. We’ve talked about expectations. I don’t expect the Alpine Police Department to be Dick Tracey and solve everything. But it makes a huge difference when people know someone is watching. It helps. It really does. People talk about how things were before there was a police department in Alpine. You can’t compare what it is now to what it was before because it is not the same now as it was then.”
Public opinion in favor of eliminating the Alpine Police Department centered on cost savings to the town and potentially getting more complete coverage of Alpine in the process.
“The whole argument seems to be response time and coverage,” said Jeff Atwood. “If we are going to save 50 percent and get as good of coverage or maybe even better coverage than we do now with only one officer its a good business decision and a good financial plan for this town.”
According to information provided by the Town of Alpine, now that the budget has been passed and $60,000 has been set aside to fund a contract agreement with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department, the town will work with LCSO to get the details of law enforcement in Alpine ironed out.
“I just want to go on record and say that I appreciate James [Phillips] and what he has done for this town,” said Melissa Wilson. “He has done a lot for Alpine and I just want him to know that we appreciate that.”