Saginaw County hears city's plea regarding police contracts
By Andrew Keller, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -
Saginaw city leaders made another plea for public safety help on Wednesday night.
After repeated refusals, they went back to Saginaw County with their plan to contract police patrols with the sheriff's department while they begged the commission to reconsider.
"I believe in fact this is good for the county and good for the city," Saginaw City Assistant Manager Phil Ludos told the Saginaw County Courts and Public Safety Board Wednesday night.
Ludos once again asked the county commission to consider contracting out sheriff's services to patrol city streets and as he's done every other time he's been asked, Sheriff Bill Federspiel says no deal.
"I know that the city would like to have this happen quickly, but I say at what expense? It cannot be at the expense of our future, it can't be at the expense of a failed model," said Federspiel.
The city's proposal calls for 84 deputies patrolling city streets. Federspiel said he needs 108 to do it the right way while saying safety needs to come before savings. Ludos told the board if they aren't willing to help, the city will be forced to take drastic steps to reduce the deficit.
"I think that our solution is, under the 80 plus four, is really positive, but do we need to contract with him? No, we need to hit that $3.1 million number, that's really the bottom line," said Ludos.
Ludos said that likely means chopping the city police force down to 55. This is something Saginaw Police Union President Doug Wortley said is just a scare tactic.
"He brought everything out of the closet, in my opinion, but the boogie man, trying to scare this commission in saying, oh, 55 officers, crime's going to run rampant," said Wortley.
Wortley said he's glad the sheriff is sticking to his guns. Wortley said he believes the city is trying to railroad the sheriff, along with the county, to sign on. But Ludos said the deficit is real and will be taken care of.
Ludos and the police unions plan to meet Thursday morning to talk about the contracts. Wortley said he has a few options he believes could work that he plans to bring to the table, but wouldn't go into details.
As far as Ludos, he said he's looking forward to some progressive talks.
Copyright 2013 WNEM (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.