Resident confronts council over police, safety

By GABRIEL GOODWIN
Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — A retired Wyandotte police officer told the council to consider raising the millage to fund the Police Department because the increase in break-ins and larcenies around the city is alarming.

Ronnie Culhane spent 27 years as a Wyandotte police officer and currently resides in the city. He told the council that Spruce Street between 12th and 15th streets experienced an attempted break-in and another successful break-in just in the weekend prior to Monday’s council meeting.

Culhane wasted no time confronting the council about the staffing shortages faced by the department.

“I have been concerned for some time now,” he said. “The Police Department is doing the best they can with the personnel they have; however, I feel the time has come to address the deficiency in the department with regards to manpower.”

From October 2011 and 2012, he said, the department lost six officers and has only replaced one of those officers and another is still in the hiring process. He said crime is only going to increase in the city and commends Police Chief Daniel Grant for effectively using the personnel he has, but the department is in need of more officers because it is still short four officers.

“We need more officers on the road because when you are short officers, you are short officers regardless of how you allocate them,” he said. “Something needs to be done. Wyandotte is slipping further down and I am not really pleased with that.”

He said he’s in full support of a separate police and fire millage increase being presented to the residents so the city can receive dedicated funding to support a majority of the Police Department.

Mayor Joseph Peterson acknowledged crime is increasing throughout the city.

City Administrator Todd Drysdale commended Culhane for providing a solution to a problem he sees within the city because a lot of residents want more service but refuse to look at the facts. He said the primary issue is the city has lost 40 percent of its tax base and cannot continue to provide services at current or even increased levels without increases in revenue or cuts in other services.

“We are in the process of preparing the budget for the 2014 fiscal year,” he said. “It will be likely we address the issue of whether we renew or expand upon the 2011 millage.”

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)

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