PARIS — The possibility of sourcing Paris police protection to the Oxford County Sheriff's Office has returned, and a new draft budget shows the town saving money after the first year.
The Sheriff's Office draft, provided to the town Monday, would cost the town $638,480 for the first year and $495,328 for years two and three, a $90,000 savings from the proposed $585,000 Paris police budget for 2013.
If the Police Department cost the town $585,000 for the next three years, the Sheriff's Office proposal would save the town an average of $42,000 over the first three years. Afterward, according to the contract, the price could rise up to 2 percent per year, but no more.
The proposal has the equivalent six full-time deputies assigned to covering Paris. The town, which has seen a budget crunch in recent years, first looked into the possibility of Sheriff's Office coverage last year after seeing Bethel's experience of contracting the the county coverage. Bethel pays just under $300,000 for coverage, but has about half the population and fewer calls for service than Paris.
Last year, Paris received a contract proposal for $671,748 for the first year for set-up costs such as additional police cruisers and radios, and $568,348 for subsequent years. That proposal included a part-time secretary and an extra part-time deputy coverage.
According to the new contract, the Sheriff's Office would provide the town the equivalent of four full-time deputies, one detective and one school resource officer. The deputies could enforce state law, but Sheriff Wayne Gallant told the Advertiser-Democrat that the department probably could not enforce Paris ordinances, such as its curfew ordinance.
At the Jan 28 meeting, Sgt. Skip Mowatt of the Paris Police Department said the possibility of the town eliminating the Police Department has hurt morale. The draft came too late to be included on Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting agenda, but Town Manager Amy Bernard said it will be on the Feb. 25 agenda.