BICKNELL, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – After their police chief was charged with battery and another officer was accused of sharing confidential information that put undercover officers at risk, the city of Bicknell currently has two officers to patrol the city.
Monday, after a 4-1 vote from the Bicknell City Council, an interlocal agreement was approved that will allow for the Knox County Sheriff’s Department to help the city with patrols.
“The interlocal agreement states that we will retain one officer here that will cover mostly day shift operations, there will be the opportunity for him to move around based on various needs,” said Mayor Thomas Estabrook, city of Bicknell.
In addition to keeping one officer, beginning on January 1st of 2020 the city of Bicknell will pay the Knox County Sheriff’s Department around $326,000 a year for three years. That money will be used to hire four new deputies to help with policing Bicknell.
In exchange, the city of Bicknell will transfer some weapons and vehicles to the county.
“The prevailing wisdom is that a good agreement is one where someone had to give up something and I think that’s what happened here, and that’s why I think the agreement is good,” Estabrook said.
While Estabrook believes the agreement is good, many community members at Monday’s meeting spoke out against it.
“This is not what we need. We need actual law enforcement, trained people,” said Jennie Garlick, Bicknell resident.
Garlick says she does have safety concerns following the agreement.
“My concern is our response time. Everybody is not unaware of all the shootings that happen,” Garlick said.
Until the agreement is finalized, Knox County will continue to help Bicknell and the city has agreed to pay the sheriff’s department just under $23,000 a month for their services.
The city will receive a $50,000 credit for their agreement to transfer vehicles and weapons to the sheriff’s department.
According to Estabrook, the agreement must also be passed by Knox County commissioners and county council.