2017-09-14 / Front Page

Police officers sworn-in in Gaines Twp.

BY LANIA ROCHA
810-452-2652 • lrocha@mihomepaper.com

GAINES TOWNSHIP – Township officials say they have no plan for merging the township police department with the Metro Police Authority.

“There have been no discussions along that line,” Supervisor Paul Fortino said Wednesday, Sept. 6, after about two dozen Metro officers were granted jurisdictional authority in Gaines Township.

The swearing-in of Metro officers occurred two weeks after township police were sworn-in as agents of the Metro Police department.

Fortino said the intent is to “facilitate a more cooperative atmosphere,” control costs, share resources and improve efficiency.

“It allows either to operate as full-fledged police officers in either township, so the responding officer can clear the incident and not have to sit and wait for someone else,” Fortino said. “That’s the intent at this point.”

Township Trustee Lee Purdy called the cross swearing-in an “official mutual aid” arrangement, although he twice asked for clarification regarding the likelihood of a merger.

“Is it the intent that we become part of Metro?” Purdy asked. “Is there an intent for Gaines Township to become part of the Metro Police Authority?”

Gaines Township Police Chief Mark Schmitzer said he and Metro Chief Dan Atkinson have been discussing cooperative arrangements for a couple of years.

He asked residents to be patient as they “work out the logistics.”

“There will be ups and downs,” he said, adding that the cross swearing-in is “nothing more than normal housekeeping” that will free up manpower at no additional cost to either agency.

The Swartz Creek and Mundy Township police departments had a similar arrangement for about 18 months before the city and township consolidated the two agencies to form the Metro Police Authority.

Additional agencies may join the authority as members with voting rights on the authority board, or they may purchase police services from the authority.

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