CAMANCHE — The Camanche City Council approved the hiring of one new police officer at Tuesday night’s regular council meeting.

Police Chief Robert Houzenga presented some statistics to the council concerning the need for another officer. He said the police department averages 400 calls a month and that 56 percent of the time only one officer will be on duty during a shift. Based on police statistics from 2000 to 2008, Houzenga said overall arrests have increased by 107 percent, operating while intoxicated arrests have increased 217 percent and domestic calls have increased by 325 percent.

He said for the past two years, the drug arrests Camanche has had have equaled the drug arrests from the seven years before that combined. He said the typical domestic or OWI arrest takes 21⁄2 hours and 20 sheets of paper to complete.

Houzenga said the need for officers is not about population, but is instead about police activity. He said factors, such as being close to a large town, can increase a smaller town’s police activity.

“I would like to remind you, we are a24⁄7, 365-day operation. We are below every demonstrable standard for amount of policemen,” said Houzenga.

Houzenga said they have not added staff to the police department since 1991 and feels it is the time to add someone. He said this is not about money, but is about priorities and the public safety of the community.

“In law school they say, ‘If the law’s on your side pound on the law. If the facts are on your side, pound on the facts. And if neither on your side, pound on the table.’ I’ve not pounded on the table. These are the facts ladies and gentlemen,” said Houzenga.

City Administrator Tom Roth expressed a concern of where the money for the new officer would come from, as it was not budgeted two months ago when the budget was approved. Houzenga reminded him that $70,000 that was not used by the police department was moved to the contingency fund.

Councilwoman Linda Kramer made the motion to approve hiring an officer. Councilman Ron Wehde pointed out this item was added to the agenda at the last minute. He questioned whether it should be decided on that night. This addition was put on the agenda and published within the required 24-hour time period before the meeting. The council agreed that action could be taken.

The motion to approve a new police officer was approved with Wehde and Ken Fahlbeck voting no and Trevor Willis, Kramer and Paul Varner voting yes.

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