GUEST VIEW: Millage key to county’s safety

By Daily News • Last Updated 11:20 am on Monday, October 22, 2012

By The Greenville Police Officers Association of Michigan

In November, the citizens of Montcalm County once again have the opportunity to support a millage request — this time, however, the millage will now reinstate the 24-hour road patrol function for the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office. This letter supports the effort to pass this proposal; the Greenville Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM) chapter fully endorses the proposed millage and feels the necessity to maintain the safety and policing of this county is dependent on passing this critical levy request.

As partners in law enforcement within this county, we fully feel it is essential to ratify such a millage to bring back road patrol services on a 24-hour basis, which are necessary to residents and visitors in Montcalm County. Without successful passing of the millage request, responses to critical or violent crimes will be diminished; due to lack of staffing, civil or common requests for services will experience significant delays as well. When citizens call 911 or request services from the sheriff’s office, they expect a quick, reasonable response time; denying this millage will continuously lead to slower responses, due to lack of available resources. Incidentally, one whole shift within the Sheriff’s Office has already been eliminated, which currently increases response times when the road patrol staffing is nonexistent.

Routinely working hand-in-hand with the Montcalm County Sheriff deputies, Greenville Public Safety officers recognize that ratifying this millage will continue the commitment to safety in the city of Greenville and Eureka Township area, as well as continue the current collaboration between the two agencies. Even though both departments are separate entities, each department operates within the premise of a working partnership and teamwork initiative in solving crimes and providing preventative, proactive patrol practices. The loss of Sheriff road patrol officers has already diminished this partnership to battle crime in the Greenville area and has stymied mutual patrol efforts already pooled between the two organizations.

Crime in the area is currently increasing — ironically, it is increasing at time where a whole shift of deputies has been cut from our Sheriff’s Office. All a person has to do is read The Daily News or talk to their local police officer and realize more patrols are needed. Local city and village police departments only patrol their jurisdiction — and do not have the authority to rove county-wide. The Michigan State Police is available, but it is unfair to place increased patrol and service requests on a partnering agency that is also stretched for resources. We, as citizens and residents of Montcalm County, have the ability to assist the remaining deputies by providing funding for 24-hour road patrol coverage, thereby re-solidifying the partnerships with local law enforcement agencies and the Michigan State Police to provide crime prevention and responses to emergency situations within Montcalm County.

In conclusion, the Greenville Police Officers Association of Michigan chapter completely supports the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office road patrol millage, and encourages all county and municipal residents to do the same. Returning to a 24-hour sheriff road patrol function positively facilitates public safety and will assist the deputy staffing to allow a proactive response from that agency to requests for service within our county. We encourage everyone in Montcalm County to vote yes on the millage in November.

Greenville Department of Public Safety Police Officers Association of Michigan Chapter.

The opinions expressed in the Guest View do not necessarily represent the opinions of The Daily News.

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