Winfield working to get more police coverage with their part-time officers

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News


WINFIELD ? Despite rumors that the city of Winfield was cutting their police department in favor of using county resources, the three part-time police officers are remaining.

Winfield?s City Council meeting drew a big crowd on Wednesday, Feb. 14, after the city council voiced concern during their budget meeting on Saturday, Feb. 10 that there was not adequate police coverage in the city.

Winfield City Clerk Angie Oepping said that there were never any plans to get rid of the department. Mayor Chris Finnell did meet with the Henry County Sheriff before the meeting to find out what it would cost for deputies to cover Winfield regularly.

Oepping said that while they didn?t have a number for how much deputies would cost, comparing county police departments, they found the city of Kalona pays Washington County $200,000 a year for use of their police department.

The city council would like to see police officers on duty for 40 to 50 hours a week of coverage. Oepping said that taking a look at the hours, there were many weeks Winfield was lacking that. Finnell is going to sit down with the three part-time officers to go over expectations and navigate feasibly how many hours a week they can cover.

In other news, Winfield still is struggling to raise the additional $460,000 for the construction of a new swimming pool. Although they met with Don Paddock, of Paddock Enterprise, to get a feel for a construction bid, right now, Oepping said they have to focus on getting the funding.

The council agreed to apply for the Wellmark Foundation Grant with their eyes set on raising $100,000, in an effort to fund the pool project.

However, because they received a grant for $50,000 from Washington County River Boat Foundation for the pool house, it has to be built by Dec. 31, to keep the grant. Oepping said they are looking at bidding the pool house and the pool as two separate projects.