Residents Concerned About Dwindling Ingham County Patrols

By: Sherene Tagharobi Email
By: Sherene Tagharobi Email

If you haven't seen Ingham County Sheriff's deputies patrolling recently -- here's why.

"We are cut to the bare bones," said Lt. Vern Elliott.

The Board of Commisioners cut police this year. Townships that rely on those services--like Leslie Township--responded by asking voters to consider a millage: $150/year to help fund police. But in all but one township voters rejected it, saying they pay enough to the county in taxes. That leaves the entire out-county with a max of three officers on the roads.

"That's kind of odd an area the size of Ingham County would only have three patrols," said Ingham County resident Randy Reed.

And without that millage, it could be even fewer come January when the new budget takes effect. Reed works security at a local bar.

"I believe we need more protection in this area," he said.

And his girlfriend works at the Dollar Store, where he says things can get ugly.

"Well, there's a lot of vandalism in the area, teenage problems, get a lot of theft in the stores," he said.

Leslie Township Supervisor Dallas Henny says when all is well and good, people may not notice the lack of patrols. Not until something goes wrong--he says--will people start to ask why there are no police patrolling their neighborhoods.

"We can't respond in a timely manner to any traffic accidents we get in the evening or any other calls of service," said Elliott.

Just Wednesday night, Deputy Scott Macomber responded when someone's window got shot with a pellet gun. He says the caller was obviously upset it took him 40 minutes to get there.

"Just in general unhappy it takes that long and that we have nobody out patrolling their neighborhoods anymore," he said.

Henny says it's a numbers game. If you don't have enough bodies, he says, you won't get a response in an emergency. And he worries without patrols on the road, those streets will start to beckon criminals.


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