City of Zumbrota considering disbanding Zumbrota Police Dept.
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(ABC 6 News) – The City of Zumbrota is considering disbanding the Zumbrota Police Dept. to instead contract with the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services within city limits, according to ZPD.
According to Tony Pasquale, Union Steward, on Friday, Oct. 13, members of the Zumbrota Police Officers and Sergeants Local 425 were notified by city officials of the possible switch.
The City of Zumbrota allegedly contacted the sheriff’s office for law enforcement services in Aug. 2023.
Pasquale also says that “to our membership’s surprise, the City has had meetings to discuss this further without providing notice to us before Friday’s meeting.”
The Zumbrota City Council is set to discuss the proposal on Thursday, Oct. 19, at a regularly scheduled meeting happening at 6 p.m. at Zumbrota City Hall.
According to the city’s Mayor, Todd Hammel, the conversation started after two Zumbrota Police Officers started looking at other places to work.
Mayor Hammel says many surrounding agencies have increased their pay, including the Goodhue County Sheriff’s Office, and ZPD has also asked for raises.
Mayor Hammel also says it boils down to the budget and the state of policing, and that he wants to do what is best for the community.
“Policing is not going to change in the standpoint of our coverage if we make a change, it’s just going to impact if they’re wearing blue or brown,” said Mayor Hammel. “We’re gonna try to keep as many of our guys in this area as we can.”
No decision has been made yet and Thursday’s city council meeting will just be to gather requested information on the budget and possible contracts.
Regardless of what is decided, Hammel says Zumbrota will still have 20 to 24-hour policing seven days a week, which is what the city currently has.
“I’m a resident of this city, I have a family in this city, and the safety of my family and this community that I love is very important to myself and the rest of the council and the rest of the city staff,” said Mayor Hammel in a phone interview. “We’re looking at the options right now, what’s going to be the best for the city of Zumbrota. If it’s with the Zumbrota Police Dept. or if it’s with Goodhue County, but we will have 20 to 24-hour policing at all times because safety is very vital in keeping this community tight and safe.”
Pasquale says that members were told a separate, public hearing, question and answer session will be scheduled at that meeting for a future date.
In a release, Pasquale says “2023 has been a trying year for the dedicated men and women of the Zumbrota Police Officers and Sergeants Local 425. After the death of retired Officer Gary Schroeder in April, the last thing that our membership expected to hear was that their positions may be eliminated. We take great pride in providing a high level of public service as community caretakers for Zumbrota’s residents, businesses, and to those who come to visit our beautiful city every day.”
Mayor Hammel says that if ZPD positions are eliminated, officers will be encouraged to apply at the GCSO and the hiring process will be a bit easier for current officers to ensure they stay in the community.
Officers with ZPD are encouraging anyone with questions, concerns, or anyone wishing to express their support for maintaining the department to contact the City of Zumbrota as well as the City Council.