The Mayor (John Johnston) and the Safety Committee (Dwight Lobberecht and John R. Johnson) are recommending to the City Council that our police chief be replaced by outsourcing his job to an out-of-town, part-time, retired sheriff (Charles Van Toorn). The Mayor also gave our present police chief (Jay Andrews) two weeks notice that he would be replaced and out of a job. The Council will have to approve or “rubber-stamp” the Mayor’s decision at the City Council Meeting on Monday night.

Johnston said Van Toorn will work only 24 hours a week for $18,000/yr. which includes insurance. With the high cost of health insurance, this means that Van Toorn will be paid slightly more than minimum wage. In his comments at last Tuesday’s safety committee meeting, Johnston heavily emphasized that Van Toorn will primarily be in the patrol car all 24 hours a week which he said (?) is more time than the present police chief spends patroling. Evidently, the Mayor doesn’t want Van Toorn doing any investigations of crimes, drug use, accidents, etc; or handle family disputes; or work with the youth of the community; or direct traffic at ball games; or doing any paperwork involving legal documentation; or you name it. Evidently, Johnston only wants Van Toorn to patrol.

Last year, our ambulance service was outsourced to the counties. In January, one of the first actions taken by the new city council was to rubber-stamp the recommendation of the Mayor and Safety Committee to eliminate the police reserves. Last Tuesday, the Safety Committee voted to recommend outsourcing Eddyville’s one remaining law enforcement job to a part-time patrol officer. The City Council will meet Monday, March 6th, at 7 p.m., in City Hall to vote on this.

Terry Brady


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