The Oakley Village Council president had to use his gavel early and often Tuesday night as people spoke out on whether to dissolve the police department.
"We need a police officer or two in this town, period, we need it," said one resident.
"Do we want a reasonable police department or do we want a mafia of police," said another resident.
The issue comes out of the controversy that swirls around the current police chief Rob Reznick. Some people are questioning the way the chief has raised donations that are being used in the village's general fund. Now according to the village council, that money is donated by people who have signed up to become what they call "reserve officers" for the police department. One trustee told the story of a surgeon in Metro Detroit and why he decides to donate.
"He goes I want to know who I'm donating to and why, he said I grew up in a small town like Oakley, I believe small town America is going to be washed away, and he said I believe this is something I can do to help this town," said trustee Sue Dingo.
Some of Reznick's critics, including members of the village council, expressed concern he could be gaining too much power in the village because of the extra money his department provides.
"I hope the money's good, I really do, but the thing of it is, by the money that's been brought into this town, the board has turned around and basically let the police chief turn around, he owns this town, he runs his own police department," said trustee Francis Kosky.
"They come in from checks from the individual donors, and he's not running the village," said Doug Shindorf, the Oakley Council President.
Meanwhile, some residents had their own opinions.
"I just want a clarification on record, he is running this city through donations, it's bribery, I want to know if this is ethical," said one woman at Tuesday night's meeting.
One of the biggest concerns in the village is their insurance policy which will end this July. It's not clear exactly why their current provider is ending coverage, but many believe it is due to numerous lawsuits filed against the police department and Chief Reznick in particular.
Reznick was not at Tuesday night's meeting.
In the end, the village council decided against dissolving the police department. The measure failed by a vote of 4 to 3.
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