Towns could be on hook for full cost of resident troopers

Beacon Falls resident trooper's officer (WFSB)

Towns relying on state troopers for their public safety could soon feel the pinch.

Under the governor's proposed budget, towns using the resident state trooper program, would be on the hook to cover the full cost of the troopers.

Right now, towns pay 85 percent of the resident trooper cost.

Going to 100 percent would save the state quite a bit of money, but many of the small towns feel they already pay their fair share.

"It’s going to be a big impact to us,” said Beacon Falls First Selectman Chris Bielik.

He said the budget proposal requiring towns relying on state troopers for local policing, to pay the full cost, is going to hurt.

"Right now we pay 85 percent of the cost of the resident trooper, which I think you can argue is fair because we only get the resident trooper between 70 and 80 percent of the time anyway,” Bielik said.

Fifty-four of Connecticut's 169 towns take part in the resident trooper program, and the state estimates the new proposal would save Connecticut $1.5 million a year.

In Beacon Falls, a town of 6,000, and with a budget of a little more than $6 million, the resident trooper supervises a certified staff of three full-time and eight part-time officers.

Its first selectman said it currently paying about $170,000 for its resident trooper salary, benefits, police car.

If the cost goes to 100 percent, Bielik says it will go to $200,000.

Plenty of other small towns are also feeling the pinch.

The first selectman of neighboring Bethany said “I understand that there has to be shared sacrifice in a difficult budget, so I can accept the increase in the cost; however, if the town is paying 100 percent of the cost, the town should have more control over when the CT state police can remove our trooper to cover an out-of-town incident."

A concern Bielik shares as well.

"When he is called out, when he is on vacation, or if he has training, the state pulls him out, he goes back to the Troop I barracks, the one that administers us in Bethany, and we do not get a 1 for 1 replacement for him,” Bielik said.

Beacon Falls first selectman said while they share a regional school district with prospect, they can't share a resident trooper. You have to share, a provision states you have to share a border, Bethany is in between.

He says he recently testified in front of legislators, asking the state to consider changing that rule.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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