After hearing rumors that Ocean View might be considering reducing police coverage from a 24-hour-a-day schedule as one way to cut spending, resident Richard Birkmeyer decided he couldn’t just let that happen.
In trying to find ways to get the point across to town officials that full police protection is both needed and warranted, he went to those who have a lot to lose: business owners.
“Businesses don’t really have a vote, but they do have a voice,” said Birkmeyer. He and fellow concerned citizen Dave Colella got about 45 signatures from business owners in just two days early this week on a petition to keep police protection as it is, 24 hours a day, seven days a week – with no reduction.
The petition reads, in part, that … “reducing police staffing and/or 24-hour coverage is totally unnecessary, would result in a threat to public safety, and a serious breach to the protection currently provided our businesses and customers … given increases in crime everywhere, any reduction in police protection in Ocean View is unwarranted and irresponsible. By our signatures, we petition the Ocean View Town Council to disapprove any reduction in police coverage in our town.”
Birkmeyer said they plan to present the petition to the council either at next week’s council meeting or at a later date. A presentation on the issue of 24/7 police coverage is scheduled to take place during the council’s Jan. 13 meeting. Birkmeyer said he understands that the economy is tight everywhere but does not feel less police protection is the answer.
“We just feel, in this economy, everybody has to cut back,” Birkmeyer acknowledged. “But the town doesn’t need to move administrative staff into the public safety building. Thinking possibly reducing the police presence [will help the financial situation] is being disillusioned.
“I feel strongly that crime isn’t being reduced anywhere. The last thing they need is to reduce police presence,” he added. “The reason why we do have less crime is because of that 24/7 protection – don’t eliminate it.”
Including Realtors, subcontractors and traditional brick-and-mortar businesses, the town of Ocean View has about 1,600 licensed business owners. It has approximately 1,000 full-time residents.