A step toward consolidation

A study released this week makes a compelling case that the town and city of Groton consolidate some police services and collaborate in other crime-enforcement areas.

This newspaper has long advocated a regional approach to many services provided by neighboring municipalities, so it makes even more sense to consolidate those operating independently within a single town's borders. The city of Groton is a subdivision of the town, as is Groton Long Point, yet all three have independent police departments.

The Police Executive Research Forum's report to the Town Council stopped short of suggesting a merger of the departments - it wasn't asked to consider the issue - but we urge town and city officials to pursue that goal at the same time they weigh the forum's more limited recommendations to consolidate dispatch and jail services and collaborate on criminal and narcotics investigations.

Such collaboration and coordination not only would save money but, we believe, would better serve the public.

The study estimated it would cost the town about $1.9 million to provide police service in the city and about $27,000 to provide it in Groton Long Point, including pay for about 600 hours of overtime during the busy summer months.

Both the city and Groton Long Point subdivisions were created because residents there wanted to improve and control their own services.

Authorities have entertained consolidation suggestions in the past but provincial attitudes have repeatedly derailed any serious consideration of merger talks. As the cost of running separate governments continues to escalate, taxpayers must ask if they can continue to afford such a luxury.

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