Bayfield Police and County Sheriff's Office Not Official

By KBJR News 1

January 6, 2012 Updated Jan 6, 2012 at 7:11 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (Northlands NewsCenter) -- As the city of Bayfield looks to cut costs, preliminary talks have taken place that could see a merger between the City Police Department and Bayfield County.

Conversations started nearly a month ago between Bayfield Mayor Larry McDonald and Paul Susienka.

The current Police Chief, Ellis Casper, will be retiring soon which community leaders say could be a good opportunity for the merger.

Both Mayor McDonald and County Sheriff Susienka say these discussions have nothing to do with the performance of the police department and they say citizens will have a chance to weigh in on any decision.

"I think this would go before the city council and there would be some discussion. It certainly has to be out there in the public. It's for the city of Bayfield to decide and the citizens of Bayfield to decide if they like that arrangement. You certainly have to look at numbers, pros and cons, in order for a decision to be made. It's not something that the Bayfield County is insisting on."

Many residents in Bayfield are concerned that the level of law enforcement would dwindle if the merger happened but Sheriff Susienka says the city would still have access to immediate response from authorities.

Jordan Weinand