Officials in St. Charles, Minn., are considering disbanding the city's police department and contracting police services with the Winona County Sheriff's Office.
St. Charles city administrator Nick Koverman said council members will decide whether to dissolve the 19-member department, which patrols the city of about 4,000 residents just southeast of Rochester.
Koverman said the move could save the city thousands of dollars a year. The city currently spends about $400,000 on its police department, he said. It employs four full-time and 15 part-time officers.
"We thought, 'You know, maybe there's some cost savings to be had, maybe there's a better standard or a higher standard of training,'" Koverman said. "So we thought, 'Let's explore all of those options and see what exists for us.'"
He said other cities in the region have dissolved their police departments, including Stewartville, Pine Island and Dodge Center.
"Their cost to their community or organization has been very reasonable for a very high-quality service," he said. "So that's something we're interested in at least exploring."
St. Charles officials will discuss the issue again at their February meeting.