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LeRoy, Downs Eye Police Partnership

LEROY - For the last year and a half, Downs has relied on the McLean County Sheriff's Department to patrol its streets, but that's only for about 26 hours each week.
LEROY - For the last year and a half, Downs has relied on the McLean County Sheriff's Department to patrol its streets, but that's only for about 26 hours each week.

LeRoy Police chief Jason Williamson started negotiating with village officials in October about a plan that could benefit both towns.

"Our proximity to Downs makes us a good proposition. We're only six miles away, five minutes,” said Williamson.

Under the proposal, LeRoy's officers would patrol the town for 40 hours a week, at the hours that Downs' leaders choose.

McLean County Sheriff Mike Emery supports the move, saying it can provide long-term stability.

"It's always an advantage to have police come in, so that your routine doesn't become known, for those that like to challenge law enforcement,” said Emery.

Downs would pay LeRoy for that service, $35 per hour. That extra cash means LeRoy could hire an extra officer, to help reduce overtime and training costs.

"Our K9 officer works four nights a week and we use him to fill in on vacations. He spends about a third of his time covering courts,” said Williamson.

The department hasn't added to its staff in more than a decade, but Williamson says now there's a bigger area to patrol, with several locations that are open late or 24 hours.

"It gives us seven days of coverage, with two officers during you can call them peak hours, but overnight and so forth,” said Dave Jenkins, city administrator for LeRoy.

That extra coverage will help LeRoy's budget, giving them an extra $15,000 per year, and town leaders hope it better protects both in case of an emergency.

"Whenever there's individuals overnight, I just feel a lot more comfortable for our men and women to have backup,” said Jenkins.

The partnership between LeRoy and Downs could take effect in six months after the Downs Village Board and LeRoy Town Council approve the proposal.

Jenkins says it could be even quicker if they hire an officer who doesn't have to go through the police academy.

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