EL, HG police contract good for both villages

COUNTY HIGHWAY A CONNECTS the villages of Howards Grove and Elkhart Lake, ten miles apart in northern Sheboygan County.

Now, there is even more of a connection between the two villages than just the county highway.

Both village boards have approved a threeyear agreement for Elkhart Lake’s Police Department to provide ordinance enforcement and patrol services on a part-time basis – roughly 10 hours a week – in Howards Grove.

Like County A, this agreement has benefits that travel both directions – east and west.

For Howards Grove, it gives the village a local law enforcement presence that it has not enjoyed for more than a year since it terminated a contract with the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department to provide that service.

Now the county’s youngest village – in terms of years of incorporation – will once again have needed regular law enforcement.

To the village’s benefit, the cost of the service from Elkhart Lake will cost them less than what similar service from the Sheriff’s Department cost them in the past – even with the cost of providing a separate patrol car for Elkhart Lake officers to use while on duty in Howards Grove.

Part of that saving will come through the collection of fines for ordinance violations written by Elkhart Lake officers while on patrol in Howards Grove. Under the previous agreement with the Sheriff’s Department, those monies stayed with the county, as the fines were paid in county circuit court.

Now, Howards Grove will become part of Elkhart Lake’s Municipal Court and receive a share of the fines paid for ordinance violations in their village.

For Elkhart Lake, the new agreement provides benefits as well. It will provide additional revenue for the police department and the village as Howards Grove pays for the contracted services.

Since the patrol service will be provided by part-time Elkhart Lake officers, the payment from Howards Grove will more than cover Elkhart Lake’s costs, while ensuring that the village of Elkhart Lake will not see any reduction in the excellent coverage it already receives from its police department.

The patrol service Elkhart Lake will provide Howards Grove after the first of the year got something of a trial run this summer undera “Click It or Ticket” program grant to enforce the seat belt law.

That trial run was a huge success and well received in both communities, which helped spur the move to the final agreement approved by both in the past month.

That followed a long negotiation process which saw one prospective agreement fail when it did not meet the approval of Elkhart Lake officials.

Now, a mutually-satisfactory three-year agreement is in place and the indications are that it should prove beneficial to all involved.

It serves as yet another example of how local governments can work together to provide service to all of their constituents in a mutually-beneficial manner.

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