The Lecompton City Council is learning that more law enforcement isn't cheap.
Contracting with the Douglas County Sheriff's office to have one officer on duty 40 hours a week patrolling Lecompton would cost an estimated $115,000 a year. That would cover the costs for the officer and equipment, Undersheriff Steve Hornberger said.
The council met for the second time in two months with Hornberger and Sheriff Ken McGovern on Monday as it continued to explore its police options.
"I think anything is doable, I just want you to be comfortable with the decision we make," McGovern said.
The town could contract with the county for a sheriff's officer through an interlocal agreement, according to information provided by the county administrator's office. The officer would be able to enforce municipal laws.
But there would be extra costs. The town likely would have to set up a municipal court system and - as there is with the cities of Eudora and Baldwin City - a contract would be needed to house prisoners in the county jail. Then the town would be liable for a prisoner's medical care.
At least four officers would be needed to handle patrolling the town around the clock every day, McGovern said.
Councilman Bruce Liese asked McGovern to provide information about the number of 911 calls originating from Lecompton, what the emergency was and the outcome.
"My question is, do we really need more (law enforcement) than we are getting now," Liese said. "I don't know what our crime rate is."
Councilman Mark Tunstall said he thought a police presence was especially needed when school lets out and on weekends.
There are a minimum of four patrol officers on duty on a shift, McGovern said. Efforts are being made to increase the number of those officers and possibly reconfigure patrol districts, he said.
Lecompton doesn't have a police department, and sheriff's officers patrol the area as they can in addition to responding to emergencies and other calls for service.