Old Lyme selectmen outline tasks for police committee

Old Lyme — The Board of Selectmen took a step this week toward forming a committee that will study a possible collaboration with East Lyme for police services.

The selectmen on Tuesday unanimously approved a charge, or list of responsibilities, outlining that the committee will be tasked with making recommendations to the selectmen regarding a potential collaboration with East Lyme or "other viable options" the committee may identify.

The Police Services Options Committee also will analyze the town's current policing model, policing needs and consultant services that could help in researching the issue, according to the list of tasks. The town currently participates in the resident state trooper program.

The list further states that the committee will research "all aspects and impacts of collaboration" with East Lyme Police, including operating and capital costs; capital assets; representation of Old Lyme on the Police Commission; the language of a potential agreement and an option for termination; police scheduling and coverage; impact on town officers; chain of command; services to the beach area during the summer, revenue from parking tickets and collaboration with the community. 

The committee will conduct research to confirm that state law would allow a single police department for two communities and to understand the process for implementation, according to the charge.

The next steps for the Old Lyme selectmen will include appointing seven members to the committee.

Officials from Old Lyme and East Lyme, which established an independent police force in July, said last summer that they were beginning discussions about the idea of sharing a police department between the two towns. The officials said the discussions were "very preliminary" and the idea would require further study. Both towns would have to vote in favor of it for the proposal to come to fruition.

Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder said in November that the Old Lyme Board of Selectmen would form a committee so Old Lyme can determine if a single police department for both towns would be a good fit for Old Lyme, before going further with the discussions.

The Old Lyme police union asked for representation on the committee and raised concerns last month over the potential merger, including its impact on public safety and uncertainty over local police officers' job security, benefits and schedules. Reemsnyder had said in response that the committee would address the officers' concerns.

k.drelich@theday.com

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