BROOKFIELD - Trustees signed a contract with a team from Youngstown State University on Wednesday to begin a feasibility study about combining their police forces with those in Hubbard Township and Hubbard city.
"It's the first time in the state of Ohio," Dr. Ron Chordas said. "We're like the guinea pigs on this."
Chordas is the executive director of the Center for Urban and Regional Studies, the Youngstown State University department that is heading up the study with money that Brookfield received from a $27,000 grant from the state. The Hubbard trustees and council passed resolutions approving the study that will take place over the next 180 days.
Tribune Chronicle / Margaret Thompson
Brookfield trustee Gary Lees, left, signs the contract with the YSU team studying merging Brookfield, Hubbard city and Hubbard Township police departments.
Before signing the contract, trustees sat down with the YSU team and police Chief Dan Faustino to discuss their expectations for the study and specific questions they would like to see answered. From the transportation of criminals to which courts will process them and how differing regulations will be enforced, the feasibility study aims to do the research to tackle these questions.
"We don't want any loss of service," Faustino said.
Faustino said that he is grateful for the opportunity. The labor intensive study might have been too much for his department to handle.
"You owe it to your residents to at least research this," Faustino said.
Dan Mamula is part of the YSU team and was brought on because of his previous position as mayor of Struthers.
"I admire their willingness to try," Mamula said.
Trustee Gary Lees said he is ready to get the study underway in hopes of finding a way to provide excess police forces.
"I'm very motivated with this," Lees said, "It's a real big step with all three entities."
During the discussion, Trustee Ron Huan addressed the hesitation that the public might have about losing their independent police departments.
"People are afraid to lose their identity when we talk about things like this," Trustee Ron Haun said. ''But if you're doing a better job for your residents overall, that question goes away.'
Chordas said the first step is gathering information about the police departments.
"I have no apprehensions because I don't have to implement it," Chordas said. "The feasibility study is the easy part."