Ann Arbor Area Community News
At the third of eight scheduled public forums to discuss Washtenaw‘s public safety needs and funding, Sheriff Dan Minzey vowed to fight against the County Commission to ”protect” road patrols to the Townships. The road patrols cover several Townships by contract, with the local government paying less than half of costs and taxpayers County-wide subsidizing the rest at the rate of $9 million annually. County Executive Bob Guenzel has proposed to phase out those subsidies and use the money instead for needed court security and jail upgrades.
The Ann Arbor News reports that Sheriff Minzey lashed back at Guenzel to applause from the Chelsea forum’s audience:
“I’m backed up against a wall and I have to fight … and I plan on fighting the county on this right until the very end. I have no other choice,” he said to rousing applause from about 60 people, including several uniformed and plain-clothed deputies at the Washington Street Education Center in Chelsea.
Minzey’s brave stance against the County Commission seems to overlook the fact that his deputies will not respond even to emergency calls from the smaller Townships that don’t contract for services, even when deputies are available on road patrol in adjacent Townships. His argument that the Sheriff’s deputies so subsidized help out all residents – for example, by assisting City of Ann Arbor Police on football Saturdays – would also seem to be weakened by the fact that the City pays the Sheriff’s department for these deputies’ time, despite having already paid for the deputies through the subsidy.
> 10 May in Superior Township
County Commissioner Conan Smith has said that there will probably be an additional forum scheduled in Ann Arbor, considering the interest in this issue.
More information on forum schedules, minutes from the past forums, a FAQ, cost-of-service comparisons to other Counties, and an online question and feedback form are available on the public safety section of the County’s webpage.
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