by Lisa Tome
If Mayor Wayne Tome has his way, the Town of Port Deposit will soon have "hybrid" police protection.
In the mayor's budget which will be presented this week, on Tuesday night, Tome outlines a plan to restart Port Deposit's own police department as well as continue to contract with the Cecil Sheriff's Office for coverage.
Tome said his plan would have a town-based officer, part of the town force, 16 hours a week. Other coverage would come from CCSO. "It's an out of the box approach," Tome said last week.
"We feel that CCSO does a good job but we need our own boots on the ground. Especially Memorial Day to Labor Day," Tome said. He said he wants to promote a "peaceful coexistence" between the town residents and visitors to the town who come to visit, boat, and eat in the restaurants.
He said the host of car break-ins in the town earlier this year sparked the idea. "It was the car break-ins, plus the speeding in town and the trucks. It used to be you could count on getting a ticket if you sped through Port. We've got to get back to that. People need to slow down. One speeding errant car could take someone's life," he said.
The Cecil Sheriff's Office has been contracting with the town since July 16, 2012 for police protection. Port Deposit also had its own department until about 2005. The town later restarted its own department and that ended in 2012.
"We want to take a fiscally responsible approach to this, ease into it slowly and do it right," he said. He also said that the town attorney is Joe Herring. Herring was once the town's police chief. Tome said that will work in the town's favor because Herring knows what guidelines need to be in place for a town police department. "Joe will make sure we are legally covered. We will put policies in place before we start," said Tome.
Tome's proposed budget also includes holding the constant yield tax rate at .5460 per $100 of assessed property value. Like many other municipalities in the county, the assessed property values dropped this year. "We're taking a step back to look at the town. We're cleaning up, and fixing up. People are getting interested in their properties. We're trying to get a developer in here to take an interest," added Tome.
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