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Commission would hold police personnel powers

August 05, 2014 | 03:15 PM
WILLIAMS BAY — A village police commission, if created by the Williams Bay Village Board, would have five resident members appointed by the village president with the approval of the board.

The sole purpose of the commission would be the hiring, promoting, disciplining and firing of village police officers.

The processes for each would come from rules established by law for police commissions.

Once established, commissioners would sit for five-year terms.

Village President John Marra, and those who support creation of the commission, say it’s a good idea because it removes village board politics from the police staffing process.

Trustee George Vlach and opponents argue that the commission would remove authority over the police department from the elected trustees, and that the commission would not be accountable to the village board.

They further argue that since the village president appoints the police commissioners, the village president would have undue influence over the commission’s decisions.

State law requires all villages with populations of 5,500 or more to have police and fire commissions, although smaller municipalities may opt to create commissions.

Williams Bay’s estimated population in 2012 was 2,602.

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Williams Bay’s current process of hiring police officers is as follows:

The police chief recommends an officer selected from the list of the village’s part-time officers to the village board’s three-member protective services committee.

The protective services committee and the finance and personnel committee then work together to vet the recommended officer.

The two committees may interview the recommended officer, accept the recommendation and move to the village board for approval or reject the recommendation and ask for others.

Disciplining officers is conducted by a law enforcement committee.

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The committee is composed of three citizens appointed by the village president. The members may not be elected or appointed village officials or village employees.

Discipline of police officers must follow the procedure set out in state statutes.


Tags: Geneva Lake West

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