MORTON — Police overtime and auxiliary payroll expenses for community events was down in 2018. So was the mileage rolled up by police vehicles.
Neither drop is worthy of applause or concern, according to Police Chief Craig Hilliard, because many factors contribute to both totals.
Hilliard reported Monday to the Village Board that police overtime and auxiliary pay for 10 community events in 2018 was $15,061, a decline from $16,919 for 14 community events in 2017. Hotel/motel tax revenue covers the expenses.
As for police vehicle mileage, it was 245,377 miles in 2018, down about 30,000 miles from 2017.
Community event police expenses for 2018 ranged from $9,712 for the Morton Pumpkin Festival to $53 for a run/walk organized by Bethel Lutheran Church.
Among the event expenses in between the Pumpkin Festival and run/walk were $1,130 for the July 3 fireworks, $1,062 for the Morton High School homecoming parade, $947 for the Downtown Super Cruise & Tractor Show, $343 for trick or treat on Main Street and $278 for Arts in the Park.
This was the second year that Hilliard included in his report pay for officers who were pulled off their regular beats to work at community events and salaried personnel like himself who provided security at the events.
"It's a more accurate accounting of our expenses," he said.
Pumpkin Festival police expenses were $10,474 in 2017, but Hilliard said more overtime than usual was needed that year because he was missing officers who were serving in the military, undergoing training and off for a personal matter.
Hilliard said one reason for the drop in police vehicle mileage last year was the retirement of an officer in August who wasn't replaced until this month, returning police department staffing to 22.
Police department mileage went up about 20,000 from 2016 to 2017.
"Our mileage is dependent upon many things," Hilliard said. "For example, if there are concerns about speeding in an area, then we're stationary there watching for speeders and not out patrolling. And if we're getting a lot of calls to investigate, we're not on the road while we're doing the investigations."
Hilliard said his department plans to trade in its oldest vehicle, a 1970 Chevrolet Suburban that formerly was used by the Morton Fire Department. The vehicle was driven just five miles last year by auxiliary officers and its odometer read 18,132 on Dec. 31.
Steve Stein can be reached at (248) 224-2616 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @SpartanSteve.