Washington Township at odds with Macomb County Sheriff over deputy patrols

Washington Township wants to see more patrols by Macomb County Sheriff's Department

By Lauren Podell - Reporter


Without local police, some city and townships rely solely on their sheriff's department, but the number of patrols on neighborhood streets boils down to budgets and contracts.

The Washington Township supervisor says they should have more patrols.

"Our cops have to leave our town, and go to their town," said Supervisor Dan O'Learly.

In Macomb County, Washington Township, Lenox Township, Macomb Township, New Haven, Mt. Clemens and Harrison Township all have contracts with the Sheriff's Department to keep Macomb County deputies on their streets.

O'Learly told Local 4 that he thought the contract would mean patrols 24/7.

"Approximately a third of the time the deputies from our town or from Lenox Township are actually serving the other towns," said O'Learly.

He also said deputies are going to Bruce Township, Armada, Richmond and Ray Township. Those are all communities without their own police department and without a contract with Macomb County Sheriff's Department.

"We pay for our police service, $950,000 a year. So I'm losing $300,000 that I'm paying for, that I'm not getting the service. It's the same for Lenox Township," said O'Learly.

The Macomb County Sheriff says he hears those concerns, and the numbers are improving.

"The first three months of 2013 we had that down to 4.4 percent, and what I did is every call, non-emergency, not life threatening, we're forwarding to the state police," said Macomb County Sheriff Anthony Wickersham.

But when there is an emergency, the Macomb County Sheriff's Department will respond. The Sheriff said that sometimes means pulling deputies on patrol.

"We have to find a back up, and it will have to come from one of the contracting communities, and that's just law enforcement 101," said Sheriff Wickersham.

O'Leary is not satisfied.

"Until we can say that 100 percent of the time what we are paying for is here, it's unacceptable," said O'Learly.

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