Gas prices affecting mid-Michigan law enforcement

The surge of gas prices is now affecting local law enforcement.
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 6:24 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - The surge of gas prices is now affecting local law enforcement.

Tuesday night, the Isabella County Sheriff’s Office announced they exhausted all their fuel funds with a few months left until their budget resets.

The department is now having to cut down on officer responses and are having deputies manage certain calls over the phone.

Calls like ones that do not require deputies to collect evidence or crimes that are not in progress.

“So, about $30,000, $35,000 probably over our budget from last year,” said Saginaw County Undersheriff Miguel Gomez.

Gomez said he has already had to move money around to cover what his office has spent on gas in recent months.

“$11,000, then up to $17,000, and then this month our current bill is over $19,000,” Gomez said.

While the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office expects to exceed their budget for fuel soon, it has already happened in Isabella County. The sheriff’s office said they will eclipse their allotted amount of $40,000 for fuel this week.

Sheriff Michael Main told TV5 he is guessing, because no one knows how high gas will go, that his department will be anywhere from $30 to $40,000 over fuel budget when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30.

Isabella County Administrator Controller Nicole Frost said she is confident the sheriff’s office will have more to work within the next budget.

“I anticipate that in that fiscal ‘23 budget process, we will be building in more dollars into the fuel line items across all county budgets,” Frost said.

Main said to save fuel, non-emergency calls will be handled over the phone. If there is an emergency, deputies will be there. Frost echoes that sentiment.

“They, along with the sheriff, would never compromise safety for the budget,” Frost said.

The same goes for Gomez. He said his staff’s passion to serve and protect residents will never run on empty.

“We’ll pinch our pennies where we have to. But the needs of the community are always going to come first, and our deputies have to be out there,” Gomez said.