Town eyes extension of Sheriff's contract

Dec. 12, 2012 @ 05:16 PM

The Indian Trail Town Council will talk about renewing an agreement with the Union County Sheriff's Office at a special meeting this month.

At Tuesday's meeting, Town Manager Joe Fivas said Indian Trail signed a five-year contract for the UCSO to provide law enforcement coverage. The 21 deputies assigned to Indian Trail provide the same type of services a municipal police department in exchange for a fee. That agreement expires June 30, 2013, Fivas said.

After conversations with UCSO Lt. Chase Coble, Fivas said he believes the council should soon begin planning.

"We need to figure out a pathway to begin that process of extending that agreement," Fivas said.

The sooner work can begin the better, Councilman Robert Allen said.

"As far as I'm concerned, time is not our friend on these things," he said. "Like with any other contract negotiation, I think getting into the meat of this, the sooner the better."

Because it is a "contract negotiation," Allen said the town needs enough time to consider their future law enforcement needs in order to best serve the residents. He proposed the council compile a "wish list" and authorize Fivas to negotiate on the council's behalf.

 Councilman David Cohn agreed that the town should begin work on a new agreement soon.

"But before we do this, we need to come up with our ideas and what we want to say and what we want to present to the sheriff's department," Cohn said. "And in turn, I know the sheriff's department's going to do the same."

Councilwoman Darlene Luther said the council should take some time to lean more about the current contract.

In September, Allen said he did not feel sheriff deputies did not provide enough security at meetings and proposed the town contract with a third party. Residents rallied in support of UCSO deputies. At the council's October meeting, Lt. Coble told the council that deputies provided security detail for presidents and dignitaries and received hours of SWAT training. He said his team formulated a security plan for the town's meetings and presented it to Fivas, but it was never brought before the town council for approval.

Sheriff Eddie Cathey said the agreement with Indian Trail is the same as similar agreements with Weddington and Marvin. He will continue to provide services to the town if it is the council's will.

"Certainly, we'll sit down and talk about their needs and additional services, and what we can do for them," Cathey said.

The Indian Trail Town Council set a tentative date of Dec. 20 for the special meeting.