Salem postpones decision on traffic enforcement by town; wants to talk to sheriff

salem-town-logoThe Salem Town Board on Monday agreed to table for 30 days a decision on the role of the town’s public safety department in traffic law enforcement.

During that time, the town will seek to talk to Sheriff David Beth about how his department could handle traffic and maybe even ordinance enforcement in the town for the short-term and when the merger with Silver Lake is complete.

The motion to table was made by Supervisor Ted Kmiec. It passed unanimously.

“It’s a very professional department,” Kmiec, an attorney who practices in Kensoha County, said of the sheriff’s department.

The issue of traffic patrol by the town’s public safety officers came to a head recently when town board members learned the town had applied and received a traffic enforcement grant from the state. Some members of the board objected to the town handling increased traffic patrol and the board last week pulled out of the program and voted to return about $25,000 in grant funding.

During discussion of the agenda item, Supervisor Dennis Faber said he did not object to talking with the sheriff, but he felt Salem public safety officers did fulfill a useful traffic watchdog role in places like around local schools. He also pointed out that safety officers, during the time the traffic enforcement grant was in effect, had stopped drivers topping 100 mph on Highway 50.

Kmiec asked Beth if deputies could provide similar service and Beth replied yes they could.

If the planned merger with Silver Lake happens as expected early next year, the resulting 14,000-plus population village would be required to have dedicated police protection. Town administrator Patrick Casey said the assumption is that will be accomplished by re-negotiating Silver Lakes current policing contract with KCSD to cover the larger and more populous village.

Beth also said that the town or the new village could pass a resolution that would enable deputies to enforce municipal ordinances, which is not the case in Salem right now. Ordinance enforcement is currently handled by town public safety officers.

What role if any there would be for the public safety officers now employed by the town once a new sheriff’s agreement was in place was not discussed Monday.



  1. Concerned says:

    Back when Silver Lake disbanded its police department and hired the Sheriff’s department I though it was a wise choice and still do. If the Silver Lake/ Salem merger goes through then, as the article stated, the village needs to provide police protection by law. At that point a village police department should be re-considered. While I have no issues with having the Sheriff’s department provide the coverage under contract it might make more sense from a monetary standpoint to have our own police force. Hard to believe we would be the 4th largest village in the state and not provide our own police force. Either way it will be expensive and its a cost I don’t thing the promoters of the merger want to talk about.
    This in no way should be taken as dissatisfaction with the job the Sheriff is currently doing in Silver Lake. We need to do what makes the most sense.

  2. Tax payer says:

    It’s the sheriff’s department why are they not doing it now why did public safety have to find speeding cars on 50 because the sheriff’s deputies only do contract work if you pay them then they enforce the law?? WE DO PAY them it’s county tax
    SALEM STOP allowing them to do this if they want money tell them to write tickets they won’t because they get less from that then they do when this board who does not know the laws or how to run a village keeps paying them to work they are already paid to do

    Get a police department

    Ted you know the truth about this. And you are in court with them. They are not a perfect as you make them out to be. Where are they at the times school lets in and out??? Not at the schools public safety was and they told silver lake if they wanted them to be there they had to pay for it! I say foul to that its there job 24/7 there payments comes from our county taxes!!!!!

    We have the opportunity to run our own department with out having to beg the deputy’s boss to make a change we want
    What do we do if he says no to a change we want wait four years to get the change??

    Let’s run our own destiny and make our own decisions

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