Trooper Russ Lady leaves the Michigan State Police Metro North Post in Oak Park. The post got 16 new recruits this month. (Charles V. Tines / The Detroit News)
PontiacPontiac Mayor Leon Jukowski said Friday he and State Rep. Tim Greimel (D-Auburn Hills) have expressed concerns with Michigan State Police about the withdrawal of state troopers inserted by Governor Rick Snyder as part of a Secure Cities Partnership Initiative.
Jukowski said he never received notification of a redeployment of troopers, which quietly occurred Aug. 3, five days before the State Police sent out a press release to announce troopers were being assigned to Detroit’s Central Business District. Gov. Rick Snyder deployed troopers to Pontiac more than a year ago as part of the Secure Cities Partnership Initiative. That plan targeted the state’s most crime-ridden cities: Saginaw, Flint, Detroit and Pontiac.
“We still have the (Oakland County) Sheriff’s Office here and they do a fine job for us — but we need as much help as we can get,” said Jukowski, who reported to City Council officials Thursday night that he and Greimel had met with State Police brass this past week.
“Pontiac is on the cusp of recovery and we need these officers,” Jukowski said. “We have 74 deputies in a city that once had its own 198-man department. You take seven officers away, that’s almost 10 percent of our current manpower.”
Greimel, whose legislative district includes Pontiac, could not be reached for comment Friday.
Nearly three years ago, cash-strapped Pontiac disbanded its police department in a cost-cutting move and began contracting public safety from the sheriff’s office.
“We have had great success in reducing crime, partly through that (state) program,” Jukowski said.
“We went from being called the 11th most dangerous city in the nation to the 81st. That’s improvement, but there is still a lot of work left to do.”
State Police Lt. Nate McQueen said “there was a squad of six troopers and a sergeant that withdrew from Pontiac in August” but stressed “they occasionally do still patrol in the city as well as in Inkster.”
“They are available when needed,” he said.
McQueen said three troopers were assigned to Detroit’s Central Business District. He said 16 new recruits were assigned to the Metro North Post in Oak Park this month.
An Aug. 8 release said troopers has been assigned to “directed patrols in the Central Business District to assist the Detroit Police Department combat the property crimes and crimes against persons in the area.”
Troopers traditionally patrol state freeways in and outside Detroit.
Some communities that do not have their own police departments or contract police services — such as Holly, Groveland and Rose township in northern Oakland County; Brighton and Genoa townships in Livingston County; and Bruce, Armada, Ray and Richmond townships in Macomb County — rely on State Police to respond to calls.
Jukowski said he understands Detroit has its share of problems but feels the use of troopers will have more of an impact in his city rather than in Detroit.