Winfield creates office of town marshal

2014-02-25T22:00:00Z 2014-02-25T22:20:25Z Winfield creates office of town marshalSusan Erler susan.erler@nwi.com, (219) 662-5336 nwitimes.com
February 25, 2014 10:00 pm  • 

WINFIELD | For the first time since its 1993 incorporation, Winfield will have its own law enforcement official.

An ordinance establishing the office of town marshal was granted final approval Tuesday by the Town Council.

"It was something we needed to do a long time ago," council President Gerald Steiner said.

A job description must be completed before the hiring process can begin, Steiner said. No timeline for hiring has been set.

A system of fines and fees attached to violations of town laws also must be established, Steiner said.

The town marshal will not replace existing police protection services provided by the Lake County Sheriff's Department under contract with the town, but rather will add another layer of public safety, town officials have said.

The marshal might patrol town parks or school safety zones, while major crimes would continue to be handled by sheriff's police.

The ordinance establishes the town marshal as the chief police officer in charge of the functioning of a police department.

It authorizes the marshal to appoint deputy marshals, with the number of deputies to be authorized by the Town Council and subject to council approval.

A timeline for hiring deputy marshals has not been established, Steiner said Tuesday.

An infusion starting this year of local option income tax funding to municipalities in Lake County prompted Winfield officials to move to establish a marshal system.

The town's share of local option income tax, expected to amount to about $40,000 annually, would help cover salaries and expenses.

A previous attempt in 2010 to have a town marshal failed partly out of concern over the cost. Town officials first looked into having a marshal in 2000, but the proposal didn't advance.

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