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Groveland Township eyes policing options



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September 01, 2010 - Groveland Township officials continue to explore their options for law enforcement, and will now also consider consolidating fire services with other area townships.

Township Supervisor Bob DePalma plans to meet with officials from Rose Township, Holly Township and the Village of Holly at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 23, at the North Oakland County Fire Authority, 5051 Grange Hall Road.

"Long-term, it's unsustainable for a lot of little fire departments and police departments to make it," said Groveland Township Supervisor Bob DePalma. "It's too costly and too cumbersome to meet all the requirements."

Other public service functions that could be shared include building departments and tax assessing, DePalma added.

The state has been encouraging communities to share services to ease the budget crunch municipalites are facing with declining tax revenue and increased expenses.

Currently, Michigan State Police troopers currently provide protection to township residents at no charge and DePalma said residents are pleased with the arrangement, but he wants to see what other options are available.

"We are also looking at the preliminary costs for us to do a small police department of our own so we have all the options going forward," DePalma said.

He explained that if the township went forward with such a plan, they would hire a mix of full-time and part-time officers and he noted that a large number of retired police officers live in the area with some interested in working part-time shifts.

"One of the advantages of a small department is not having a union," DePalma said. "We're always looking at these things— if the state's position changes, what options are available. No police protection is never an option."

On July 29, DePalma, along with representatives from several other communities met with officials from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office to discuss the possibility of creating regional substations and/or regional patrol districts.

OCSO Undersheriff Michael McCabe is putting together various options to present to the communities, which could include Groveland sharing police services with Rose, Holly and Springfield or possibly a scenario where they share OCSO deputies with Brandon Township. A second meeting with OCSO to discuss those options has not yet been scheduled.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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