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The city of Garrison is taking steps to form its own police department after more than 30 years of contracting for services with the county sheriff’s department.

“We want to tailor law enforcement to meet the needs of Garrison residents,” said Stuart Merry, mayor of the McLean County community of 1,500 residents.

The city council will vote on the matter at a special meeting set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Garrison Auditorium.

Merry said the council in a recent 4-2 vote opted not to renew its contract with the county. The county commission about a week later voted to terminate. The city is not without law enforcement, as the contract ends Jan. 1, 2020.

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A city police department “would serve the needs of Garrison, not the county as a whole,” Merry said.

“I’m very optimistic,” he said. “I’m actually pretty excited with the potential.”

The city paid the county about $160,000 annually for law enforcement services. It's unclear what it would cost to form and maintain a department, but enough research has been done that Merry believes the city would “hit the ground running” if the council votes to move forward.

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Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or Travis.Svihovec@bismarcktribune.com

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