Discussing the future of the Moose Lake Police Department
Citizens in Moose Lake gathered at City Hall Wednesday night for a question and answer session regarding the future of the police department.
“The public meeting is intended to inform city residents of the City Council’s efforts and due diligence regarding the provision of law enforcement services in the community,” said Moose Lake City Administrator Elissa Owens. “I think most importantly, it’s important to know that the city is not defunding the police department. Rather, looking at solutions to fund policing in the community.”
Funding the Moose Lake Police Department has become increasingly more difficult for the city.
“This year, the budget increased significantly. There’s been an increase of about $200,000. Preliminarily, of course, that was due to changes with health insurance, staffing, all different types of contributing factors for that,” said Owens.
In the 2024 budget for Moose Lake, 87% is allotted for the police department. With the department continuing to use an increased percentage of the general budget, the city is considering other options.
One of the options would be to subcontract deputies from Carlton County.
“We would have four deputies that are assigned full time to the city, just like you get now. So you would get to know them, you know, in the schools. You’d see them around the schools, you see them around businesses, you’d see them around communities,” said Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake. “This is not anything that is new in the state of Minnesota, having the sheriff contract for local police departments.”
An alternative solution would be to have fewer deputies in Moose Lake, which would mean not every shift would be covered. If something were to happen and no deputy on the clock, help would still be provided.
“All law enforcement in the state of Minnesota has mutual aid agreements, and we rely upon each other to be able to back each other up,” explained Sheriff Lake.
The 2024 budget is set, including funds for the police department. The future of the department has yet to be decided, but city leaders now have a better idea of what citizens think of their options.