Community shocked after police officers unexpectedly let go - WNEM TV 5

Community shocked after police officers unexpectedly let go

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A Mid-Michigan city is concerned about potential cuts to its public safety program.

Two Alma police officers were let go on Monday without warning. One of those officers showed up at the city commission meeting to get answers.

"When I was hired there was no mention of layoffs or any possibility. Nothing that made me feel like I was going to lose my job yesterday," said Tyler Gifford, former Alma police officer.

He said he was shocked when he was pulled into the office to be told he was being let go after seven months on the force. Gifford said he and his family were just getting comfortable and making Alma their home.

"Now we're left flying in the wind trying to figure out what to do. We just bought a house and we planned on starting a family in this community and being here for a long time," Gifford said.

He doesn't know if that will happen.

Police Association President Jeff Hedrick said there has long been talk about potential layoffs in the next fiscal budget, which doesn't begin until this summer. He said they were assured no changes would be made before then.

Hedrick said even the members of the city commissioner were surprised by the cuts.

"The city commissioners apparently didn't know this happened or was going to happen. I don't know how a city commission can't know what a city is going to do when it comes to laying off police officers or firefighters," Hedrick said.

Alma Mayor Greg Mapes said plans changed quickly due to budget problems and he can't promise there won't be more changes ahead.

"I can't promise anybody anything at this point. I can't pull dollars out of my hat and say this isn't going to continue," Mapes said.

There is still no word on if the officers will get their jobs back or what this all means for the next fiscal budget.

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