EDITORIAL: More troopers a strong start

If there’s one thing we can all agree with, it’s that Sussex County Council has been consistent in its belief that the county sheriff’s office should not be a “true” law enforcement operation.

The council has said repeatedly over the years that state troopers and munipal departments could handle the load, and they have continued that refrain through times of unprecdented growth and fierce public comment regarding hopes for an expanded sheriff’s department.

The state and county reached an agreement in 1994, stating that funds from the county would go to the state to both support the troopers assigned to the county, and to grow the Sussex force as needed.

Flash to today.

Not including homicide detectives, drug investigators and emercency service personnel, Sussex County will have 168 troopers on duty this year. That’s certainly an impressive number.

There have also been an additional 47 patrol cars put on Sussex roads since that agreement was first reached. The contract for this year involves $1.2 million going from the county to the state — a figure county officials feels is appropriate.

“We feel this is the most cost-effective way of putting more police on the road,” said Sussex County Administrator Robert Stickels. “And that ensures the public’s continued safety.”

This is a good thing. Governments were originally established in this nation to protect borders, make laws and enforce those laws. The protection and safety aspects are big, and Sussex County has designated $17.5 million in the current budget year for public safety.

We can only hope, as the entire region continues to grow, that number continues to climb in proportion.