Advisory Group To Recommend Saugatuck Contract With County Sheriff
Saugatuck City Council members are expected to receive a recommendation Thursday (Feb. 8) from The Police Services Advisory Working Group to have the City of Saugatuck contract with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Department to provide police services for city residents.
If the council votes at a later date to accept this recommendation, it will end the city’s long-time contractual relationship with the City of Douglas to provide local police services.
The move would reportedly save Saugatuck taxpayers more than $220,000 in the first year alone, according to city officials, but will also continue to spark ongoing anger and condemnation by Douglas officials and current police personnel, the latter over concerns by local police officers they may lose their jobs.
In response to questions by The Local Observer, the following statement was provided by Saugatuck City Manager Kirk Harrier Wednesday night:
“The Police Services Advisory Working Group (Mayor Ken Trester, Council member Bill Hess & Council member Barry Johnson) has completed an analysis regarding the City of Saugatuck contracting for law enforcement services with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office.
“The Working Group’s recommendation is for the Saugatuck City Council to take the necessary steps required to enter into a Law Enforcement Services Agreement with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office.
“The Working Group believes the report findings demonstrate this decision will be the best for the residents of the City of Saugatuck and the future of law enforcement in Allegan County.
“The report will be presented to the full (Saugatuck) City Council at the February 8th workshop meeting. No formal action will be taken at this meeting.
“Currently the city contracts for law enforcement services with the City of Douglas. The analysis focused on the City contracting for Sheriff Deputies that will be dedicated to the City of Saugatuck, but are employees of Allegan County.
“The Working Group approached the analysis with a “staffing to need” methodology; reviewing past incidents and call volume as well as the City’s budgetary concerns - current and future.
A budget savings of $220,791 is projected the first year if the (Saugatuck City Council) decides to enter into an agreement with the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office.
“The full report/analysis is available on the City’s web site—“City Council Page”,” said Harrier in an effort to keep residents informed.