Scottville commission turns down attempt to disband police dept.

July 6, 2015

scottville police car 2By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — Two city commissioners attempted to disband the city’s police department Monday night, and failed. Commissioners Don Pasco and Ed Hahn presented a motion to dissolve the city’s police department. The motion was defeated by a 5-2 vote, Pasco and Hahn being the only commissioners voting in favor.

Pasco began the conversation by asking City Attorney Tracy Thompson if the city was under any obligation to have a police department. Thompson responded by saying he really did not know the answer but could research it.

Hahn then stated that he had spoken to Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole about the sheriff’s office obligation to provide police protection in the city. “He explained to me that we (the city) do not have to contract with the sheriff’s department. The only thing is they would not be responsible for ordinance enforcement but they would respond to any or all calls.”

When contacted by MCP, Sheriff Cole confirmed that he had spoken with Hahn and said he did make that statement. He said he also stated that the sheriff’s office could not provide a dedicated deputy and patrol car to Scottville without compensation. Cole said Haun was provided figures by Mason County Administrator Fabian Knizacky of about $108,000 per year for the cost for one deputy to patrol the city. Hahn did not mention the dollar figures provided by the county during Monday’s meeting.

The city’s current annual budget for a police department is about $150,000. which includes two full time officers, a part-time chief/administrator and five part-time officers.

Two years ago the city discussed contracting with the sheriff’s office for dedicated patrols of the city. The city commission chose instead to hire a part-time chief because of the cost of providing the same amount of service to the city would have been higher.

“It seems there are other options,” Commissioner Ann Genson said during discussion. “I believe what you are going for is how to save money on our budget because of how much we spend on our police force. I wonder if we could have a constable whose only purpose is to enforce the city ordinances. It would be a compromise between contracting with the county.”

Commissioner David Johnson suggested the topic be discussed by the city’s public safety committee before being brought up by the entire commission. Mayor Dick Macki agreed and said the topic would be visited by that committee.

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