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City continues discussion with Sheriff Department

By Judy Reed
The Cedar Springs City Council voted 7-0 last Thursday, August 21, to direct the City Manager to continue discussions with the Kent County Sheriff Department regarding them taking over law enforcement for the city.
But it’s not a done deal. The council wants to see a contract before they decide.
Councilor Bob Truesdale said he was disappointed in the rumors going around, and that no officers had come to him to complain. He also said that they had never questioned the police department’s work.
Councilor Patty Troost angrily asked Truesdale whether he had ever asked the officers how they felt about the change. “You need to go to them, not wait for them to come to you,” she said. She also noted the number of domestics in our community, and said she feels that the city needs the level of care our current officers provide. “As an impoverished community, we may need more officers, in my opinion,” she said.
“There are a lot of emotions [on this issue] and rightly so,” said Councilor Jerry Hall. “We need to see hard numbers. I won’t make a decision until we do.”
Mayor Mark Fankhauser expressed similar sentiment. “I know we have a fine police force here. It doesn’t discredit them to look at outsourcing. We need to have the manager move forward with discussions to get solid facts.”
Councilor Ashley Bremmer seemed hesitant to endorse the plan. “Even if the decision is something I don’t want to do, we have to do what is in the best interest of the city,” she said.
Councilor Dan Clark said he doesn’t think the city would get as good of coverage going with the KCSD, but questioned whether we could afford to continue running our own department. “I think we have a great department, and Chief Parent has done great. But as a community, just out of poverty, can we afford to spend as much as a [more affluent] community like Charlevoix? Can we afford that?”
“Our officers do a lot of social work,” remarked Councilor Ken Benham. “But we have dipped into our fund balance the last few years. At this rate, it will be gone, so we need to look at this.”
Chief Roger Parent said that there are pros and cons to the change. “Most of these officers took the job here because they wanted to do small town policing,” he said. “And they have stayed because they like it.”
He said that even though they may get a raise as soon as hired into KCSD, it would still affect them. “They will have higher co-pays, and their vacation will probably start at about a week, when some of the officers are already at 3 weeks here,” he noted.
“What the officers are getting is good. It’s not the best, but it is good. It will work as well as it has in other communities. And Sheriff Stelma, being a resident, will make it work,” remarked Parent. “Our officers will adjust.”
Once the City Manager brings back a contract from the KCSD, the Council will vote on whether to make the switch.

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4 Responses to “City continues discussion with Sheriff Department”

  1. Joe Mckinny says:

    Does not make it folks. It is not cheaper. When has anything in you life been “cheaper” and “better”…. I am a silent business partner in a company in the city. Don’t do this.

    The Kent County Sheriff brass is saying they already have this in the bag. Its a done deal. So is it????

    Stop what cannot ever be taken back. Once they have it we loose all control and can never go back to the Cedar Springs Police Department again.

    Why are they already claiming this as a win?

    The comments above not true.

    What gives.

  2. Joe Mckinny says:

    One other thing, when in life can you on a consistent level pay
    “less” for something and get “more’. Folks, that is not the way it works.

    Save the Department, they are great and do a great job.

  3. Trisha Dart says:

    I’d rather continue to pay higher taxes to keep a local police department. I do not want the city to go with the KCSD. Please keep our small town police force the way it is.

  4. Long Time Residents says:

    It’s a worthless department, with officers that spend most of their shift inside at city hall/headquarters, and when called out, only complain that they have to do something. I say shut it down, save the community some money, and let county officers who are eager to do their job police the community. Cedar officers who get absorbed into KCPD will quickly be filtered out if their work ethic does not improve.

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