Public Safety Referendum
On Monday, January 15, 2024, The Germantown Village Board voted to include a referendum question on the April 2, 2024 ballots to address public safety challenges. Voters will be asked whether or not they support an increase in the property tax levy to fund ten additional firefighter-paramedics and four additional police officers.
Additional Staff Will Help Meet Increased Demand for Emergency Response by Fire Department
Increasing calls for service are driving the Germantown Fire Department’s need for additional staff. Between 2016 and 2023, the department experienced a 41.5% increase in calls for emergency services, and nearly 20% of the 2,452 calls for service in 2023 occurred simultaneously. With just five personnel on-duty per shift, there are not enough staff to adequately respond to multiple emergencies.
If approved by referendum, the Fire Department will add 10 firefighter-paramedics, which would allow for 7-8 personnel to be on-duty per shift. With that staffing level, four-member crews in fire apparatus could immediately depart a fire station and enter a burning structure, rather than having to wait for the arrival of backup from a neighboring community or from paid-on-call staff who may be responding from home or their day job. Additional cross-trained staff would also enable GFD to dispatch up to three ambulances at once and meet the growing need in Germantown for emergency medical services.
Additional Police Officers Will Improve Public Safety Response Capabilities
The Germantown Police Department is experiencing continued staffing challenges as the community continues to grow. The type of calls for service by GPD has shifted over time, with an increase in drug-related calls – including overdoses – and retail theft. Drug and property-related calls often require multiple officers to respond and necessitate more officer time from the point of a call to the completion of paperwork.
With few patrol officers on duty at any given time, when multiple officers are called to respond to the same incident, few, if any officers remain available to respond to additional emergencies or provide proactive policing services.
If approved by referendum, the Police Department will add four police officers, which would allow for two additional patrol officers on first and second shifts – the busiest shifts of the day. With this increase, GPD will be able to effectively respond to simultaneous calls for service and provide proactive police services that are critical to ensuring the continued safety of the entire community.