OUR VIEW: Law enforcement millage is worth the cost

By Daily News • Last Updated 9:00 am on Monday, November 05, 2012

How much is police protection worth?

Is it worth four cups of coffee, two loaves of bread or 1.5 gallons of milk per month?

This equates to about $5, or $60 per year for individuals who own a property with a taxable value of $100,000.

In return for voters approving a 0.6 millage proposal to generate about $$971,830 over two years, the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office will be able to restore and maintain law enforcement coverage throughout the county. This will include rehiring three laid-off deputies (including a court deputy) and replacing the positions of a retired deputy and a retired sergeant.

On Oct. 1, the sheriff’s office ceased 24/7 coverage after the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners made budget cuts. The Greenville Department of Public Safety is the only other 24/7 law enforcement agency in Montcalm County. The Michigan State Police formerly provided around-the-clock coverage, but that department too has been hit with budget difficulties and had to cut services.

Montcalm County hasn’t been without 24/7 coverage since the 1960s. It’s a scary thought to envision something happening and no one being able to respond for hours.

Criminals aren’t going anywhere. The pages of this newspaper regularly document breaking and entering incidents, criminal sexual conduct, domestic violence, drug busts, vehicle accidents and more. We need our men and women in uniform on call and on the road when bad news breaks.

A previous law enforcement millage request for $1.564 million over five years failed by just 120 votes last February in Michigan’s primary election. This new law enforcement millage proposal has been slimmed down to just the basics. We’re hoping the general election will attract more voters, and that those voters will have educated themselves on the issues.

We’ve got a full ballot this year in Michigan— six statewide proposals, the presidential race, lots of local races — but nothing’s more important than feeling safe in your own home, shopping at local businesses or driving on the roads.

Montcalm County Sheriff Bill Barnwell says the last thing his department wants to do is send a message to criminals that there are fewer deputies on duty — and sometimes none at all. We couldn’t agree more.

We are endorsing a “yes” vote for the Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office law enforcement millage on Nov. 6.

For more information about the proposed millage, visit “Montcalm County Law Enforcement Millage” on Facebook.


Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.

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