Deerfield Village Considering Cutting Police Department

By: Zac Schultz
By: Zac Schultz

Deerfield: Tom Cipriano is more than Deerfield's Chief of Police. At certain times of the day he's also the only patrol officer.

He and two officers make up Deerfield's Police Department, but maybe not for much longer.

Deerfield needs to make some budget cuts. "One option the village is now considering is a re-organization of its police department," says Village Administrator Dean Otte.

Otte says they need to cut $30,000 from the police department's budget. The first plan was to make the Chief's position a part-time job. Cipriano was shocked when Otte told him that. "I asked him why and he says, 'Because you get paid the most.'"

The other option is to contract out with the Dane County Sheriff's Office for two deputies to cover the village, either by themselves or in cooperation with the nearby Village of Cambridge.

"With a contract with Dane County we do have our own officers that are assigned to the Village of Deerfield. The only difference a resident would notice is their uniforms would be county uniforms, not a Deerfield uniform," says Otte.

Cipriano says that would reduce police services even more. "I think cutting police services is a dangerous step. I know other communities made cuts without cutting their police. I would think there would be alternatives."

Chief Cipriano fears contracting out would lead to longer response time and less coverage. He says they need more officers, not fewer. "We're over 2,000 population already. We should easily be at four officers now."

Otte says that's up to the Village Board. "That's a policy decision-it's not an administrative decision."

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