Carrollton Twp holds meeting following death of police chief
CARROLLTON TWP., Mich. (WNEM) – The Carrollton Township Board of Trustees held their first meeting following the death of Police Chief Craig Oatten, who also served as the township director.
“It’s going to be hard to fill Craig’s shoes and we’re going to do our best to make him proud,” said Carrollton trustee Jamie Westphal.
The group discussed how the township will cover the positions left vacant by Oatten’s death.
“I think it would be more appropriate than in the intro that our township manager or office manager who is here all day, every day, assume that role temporarily. I think it makes more sense,” said Carrollton trustee Shellene Thurston.
The board voted to appoint office manager Megan Weaver as interim township director, although the township attorney had recommended supervisor Phillip Abney for the position.
The board did, however, agree with the legal counsel’s recommendation to appoint the Sgt. Chris Kellett as interim police chief.
Concerns regarding the police chief position were taken into account, including police coverage in the community and resident access to the interim chief.
“I mean if he’s tied up in court, he’s tied up with other official chief police duties, okay. Then he’s not out on the road. So, do we need to bring in somebody temporarily to fill that void?” said Jerry Fritz, the township clerk.
Abney said the interim police chief would still work his regular shift but would come in on other days to address certain concerns on a temporary basis.
The board also decided to consider putting up a memorial for Oatten as part of the Iron Belle Trail trailhead.
“Having a rock with a plaque on and maybe a flower garden around,” said Thurston. “It might be something that we might want to consider.”
The board voted to close the township offices on Thursday, Feb. 2 so the staff could attend Oatten’s funeral.
Township flags will fly at half-staff for the remainder of the week.
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