Something had to change a decade ago when Fraser and Winter Park decided to form a joint police department to take over law enforcement services from the sheriff’s department. The sheriff’s department could only provide limited service without major additions to their staff.
Since both are small towns and are close to each other - in fact their town limits now abut - it made additional sense to share a police department. That thinking led to an intergovernmental agreement that remains in force today.
Fraser Town Manager Jeff Durbin said the demands for service were growing for enforcement of municipal ordinances such as parking, speeding, and other local issues that required a community policing approach. While the police department costs a little bit more than a contract with the sheriff’s department, the level of service is “immensely different. These guys are part of our local government team … the level of service is just dramatically different.”
Winter Park could not afford this level of service on its own according to Town Manager Drew Nelson. He says, “The taxpayers benefit greatly by having a combined service to allow for the level of service that we do have here.”
Under the agreement, department costs are shared based on call load for each community. Currently, Winter Park is shouldering 63 percent while Fraser pays 37 percent - amounts determined by calls. Among other items in the agreement: each municipality contributes police vehicles for use by the department, and the Town of Winter Park serves as the managing agency for the department, while Fraser compensates Winter Park for a share of the administrative costs.
The agreement automatically renews each year; the departmental budget is negotiated annually. The police officers are commissioned police officers of each municipality with authority to enforce the municipal ordinances of both entities.
Working with two municipal codes is seldom a problem according to Police Chief Glen Trainor: “Most of the law enforcement related ordinances that we have, we have enacted in both towns at the same time, and as a result theft in one town has the same elements as theft in the other town.”
The department is known as the Fraser/Winter Park Police Department. Why not Winter Park/Fraser? Chief Trainor related the results of a joint meeting of the two town boards where a coin was flipped - Fraser won.
Read the IGA and watch a video that, among other shared services, features this agreement.