Detroit — Wayne County Commissioners renewed a contract Thursday to have sheriff’s deputies provide additional security on Wayne County Community College District campuses.
The commission voted 8-5 to renew the $700,000 contract, which will expire next June 30.
Under the contract, first approved in 2006, three officers from the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office will provide additional security on the community college’s Eastern, Northwestern and Downtown campuses, which are all in Detroit. The sheriff’s office will also provide outreach workers throughout the county.
Commissioner Diane Webb, D-Livonia, said she couldn’t justify the move, given the county’s financial situation.
She said there’s a shortage of personnel in the county jail and she would rather see those three officers deployed there.
The commission last week approved a consent agreement with the state to fix its financial emergency. The county is struggling with an annual structural deficit of at least $23 million.
Commissioner Al Haidous, D-Wayne, supported the renewal.
“I don’t think it’s a high price for the safety of the school’s students,” he said. “And we cannot resolve the county’s deficit by removing three officers with the Sheriff’s Office from the community college.”
Wayne County Community College District’s eastern campus is on Conner near Interstate 94; its northwestern campus is on West Outer Drive at Southfield Road, and the downtown campus is on Fort near Fifth.
The Downriver campus is on Northline Road near Allen Road in Taylor, and the western campus is on Haggerty Road near Interstate 94 in Belleville.
Paula Bridges, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, welcomed the news.
“We certainly understand some of the concerns discussed,” she said. “However, approving this contract means continuing to focus on public safety in and around all of the campuses throughout Wayne County. Adding to that is an extremely valuable recruitment factor as a result of the officers’ interaction with the students and faculty which we hope will continue to generate new hires down the line.”
Tina Bassett, spokeswoman for WCCCD, said the school is pleased with the decision.
“The sheriff’s office provides us with a tremendous service and we appreciate everything it does for us,” she said. “The campuses are so large and open seven days a week. Even with the security people we have, we need the support of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office.”