As of Monday, October 1, Montcalm County Sheriff Patrols are no longer on duty around the clock. According to Sheriff Bill Barnwell, this is the result of a budget deficit of $733,000 in the county general fund budget that went into effect at midnight.
$345,000 or about half of the cuts are coming out of the Sheriff’s Budget.
“This is the first time in my 38-year career that the Sheriff’s Office has not staffed 24-hour shifts,” said Barnwell.
Barnwell stated he has lost an entire shift of Deputies due to the cuts and is very concerned about the negative impact the cuts will have on the public safety of Montcalm County residents. Prior to the cuts, the Sheriff’s Office and Greenville Department of Public Safety were the only agencies with 24-hour patrols.
Sheriff Barnwell said he will work with both local and State Police to try and cover the gap, however, with fewer and fewer police officers on duty, it is becoming much more difficult to adequately protect and serve the citizens of Montcalm County.
A millage proposal will be on the ballot in November, which, if approved, would restore the cuts and help maintain 24-hour patrols. The Sheriff is hopeful voters will approve the 0.6 mill proposal that would generate about $971,000 per year for two years.