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Township gives final approval to police cuts

Board agrees to nix three deputy positions, including one school liasion officer

December 22, 2010 - It's official. The Orion Township Board of Trustees voted unanimously Monday to cut the number of Oakland County Sheriff's deputies currently assigned to the township substation.

One of two Lake Orion Community Schools' police liaisons will be among three officers to hit the bricks come Jan. 1.

In all, 30 patrol officers, detectives and command staff currently work out of the substation.

Of those, two serve as liaison officers to the district, with one housed at the high school, while the second covers the district's seven elementary and three middle schools. 

The decision to cut the school officer, explained Supervisor Matthew Gibb, came at the behest of Lake Orion Community School officials in the midst of budget reductions earlier this year.

Over the years, the district has paid half the cost of each officer, while the township picked up the other half.

When the district informed the township it was unable to continue funding its share of both positions, the township concurred.

"We have to (make the cut), too," said Gibb. "But we believe adequate protection can still happen with one liaison."

Substation Commander Lt. Bruce Naile said he'll find a way to make sure the schools have adequate coverage, but noted both officers currently working in the district are already busy and doing the job with half the staff will be a challenge.

"More demands will be put on the remaining school officer," he said. "The patrol officers will have to pick up the slack. When you figure there's (11) schools in the district, that's a lot for one guy to handle."

The liaison's duties, he said, include more than responding to incidents or serving as a presence in the school buildings.

Officers assigned to the schools are also responsible for investigating any crime that occurs on school property, as well as crimes that involve juveniles but occur at home.

"When you're dealing with juveniles there's a lot involved," he said. "They're working with probate court, with Care House, the prosecutors office – and parents have to be present. There's a lot of scheduling involved."

In addition to the school liaison, the board also approved cutting two patrol officer positions. The cuts take effect Jan. 1.

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