Contract with EL first step for Howards

THE VILLAGE OF ELKHART Lake and Howards Grove lie only 10 miles apart on opposite ends of County A.

There are a lot of differences between the two villages. Now they will share something more than just the county highway that connects them.

The two villages have approved an agreement that will allow the Elkhart Lake Police Department to provide ordinance enforcement for the village of Howards Grove.

The agreement follows long stop-and-go negotiations between officials from the two villages that included a failed agreement that Howards Grove officials approved but Elkhart Lake officials rejected.

It all started with dissatisfaction on the part of Howards Grove officials with the enforcement services they were receiving through a contract with the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department – a contract the village eventually terminated.

That led to the eventual agreement with Elkhart Lake, although that agreement does not provide everything that Howards Grove had been looking for.

The contract does not include any patrol service by the Elkhart Lake Police Department in the village of Howards Grove. It was that provision that led the Elkhart Lake Village Board to reject the first contract last fall, as they felt it would be too costly and take away from their own village’s safety and protection too much.

The agreement finally approved does provide for the Elkhart Lake police to issue citations for ordinance violations in Howards Grove. Howards Grove will become part of the Village of Elkhart Lake/Town of Rhine Municipal

Court, which will now become the Northern

Moraine Municipal Court.

It means that the village of Howards Grove will now directly receive revenue from fines for ordinance violations, which it did not in the past. That was one of the issues the village had with its earlier contract with the county.

They join numerous other municipalities across the county, from the city of Plymouth to the village of Kohler and more, directly receiving the revenue from fines for ordinance violations through municipal courts.

The contract with the village of Elkhart Lake is for one year and Howards Grove officials have indicated they will continue to explore alternatives for law enforcement and public protection in the meantime.

One idea being floated is to establish a part-time police officer/ chief position, similar to what the villages of Cascade and Waldo currently employ.

The village of Howards Grove has been able to get by for its nearly 50 years of existence without its own police department, but that may prove to be no longer feasible.

The village has more than tripled in size since it was incorporated and is now by far the largest village by population in the county. Two smaller villages – Elkhart Lake and Kohler – have long-standing full-time police departments, while Cascade and Waldo share a part-time officer.

It may well be time for the village of Howards Grove to give serious consideration and study to the best and most effective way to provide law enforcement and protection for its residents and businesses.

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