Citizens and elected officials in Scottville are in the midst of a decision that could result in disbanding the city’s police department. As financial issues and costs of living continue to complicate city operations, commissioners search for potential budget cuts that could create solutions.
Currently, Scottville’s budget doesn’t have room for the employment of a treasurer, forcing City Manager Amy Williams to uphold her own duties as well as those of a treasurer. The proposal to disband the police department could solve this issue. WMOM spoke with commissioner Ed Hahn about why he believes the city could prosper without the police department.
Hahn: “From what I’ve been able to gather from the vast number of residents is the fact that… they feel that by eliminating the police department and recouping that $180,000 a year, and the fact that Mason County [Sherriff’s Office] is so good at what they do, we would be just as well off without [the polcie department] as we would with them.”
Mason County Sherriff Kim Cole has assured Scottville residents that his office would respond to their 911 calls and address concerns brought to their attention. The commissioner pointed out that other cities in Michigan have made similar changes with positive results.
Hahn: “Pontiac disbanded their police department, Oakland County took it over. Their crime rate dropped 21% in 18 months… and from everything that I’ve been able to find and read, the residents there are completely satisfied with that."
Hahn worries that people have taken his proposal as a tirade against the police department rather than as a solution for the city’s needs.
Hahn: “It’s really a financial issue, it truly is. And it’s been brought up in a number of meetings… and we’re always told the same thing, 'we just don’t have the money for it, we just don’t have the money for it,' so if we don’t have the money for it then what we need to do at this point is try to find a way to generate the money for it.”
WMOM will continue to follow the situation as it progresses.