According to acting Bazetta Police Chief Michael Hovis, officers there couldn't shoot halfway across the township's Wal-Mart store with their guns.
Bazetta officers obviously need a weapons upgrade. Recent news events around the nation continue to re-enforce the necessity for police to receive the best equipment to protect themselves and the public. Even Bazetta has had its moments in the news, including an incident during which township police joined a manhunt at the Wal-Mart store.
But residents might want to insist that the financial management of the Bazetta Police Department improve before taxes increase. Bazetta trustees are asking for a 2.5-mill replacement levy that would take collections from $136,292 annually to $373,775. It would cost property owners an additional $56.60 per year for every $100,000 in value.
Township leaders have expressed no interest in consolidating with another police force, such as Cortland, to operate more efficiently. They insist it is necessary for all full-time Bazetta officers to have take-home police cruisers. They also insist on providing health care benefits in excess of a typical taxpayer in the private sector.
No officer is paid enough to do police work. However, communities can only receive the amount of police protection they can afford. Bazetta residents would be acting within reason to question if they can afford this proposed tax increase.