State troopers share with Novi police
BY TOM BARRY
OU News Bureau
As Michigan struggles in an economic downturn, even those who swore to protect and serve have felt the crunch and are searching for ways to reduce costs while maintaining services.
Last month, Michigan State Police began its regional policing that includes basing officers at municipal police departments, one being the Novi Police Department.
Novi is one of 37 police departments recently making space available to troopers. This latest move increases the number of police departments housing troopers to 58 across Michigan.
The plan is the most significant part of the state police effort to cut $17.7 million from its budget by reducing the costs associated with maintaining dedicated police posts.
Before, there were 62 state police posts plus 21 police departments housing troopers. Now, there are 29 independent posts and another 19 converted to limited use by troopers. The rest are at local police departments. None of the 957 troopers was laid off.
The Novi police headquarters and other detachments serve as a building where officers can begin and finish their shifts, perform administrative tasks and meet with members of the public by appointment only.
Posts closed in the metro region include Richmond and Detroit.
State police Sgt. Jerome Wren said that the closing of posts in the Detroit area leaves the department with just one post in the Metro District, in Oak Park. It serves as a call center.
Wren added that the troopers now stationed in Novi would continue to patrol the western portion of metro Detroit. Troopers based in the region will provide traffic services only.
In announcing the plan in a March 24 statement, Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police, said she believed the service levels would stay the same or grow because of the increased flexibility in deployment and scheduling.
Fourteen members of the state police now work in Novi — a sergeant and six troopers assigned to the day and night shift each. There are 62 members of the Novi Police Department.
“What we are doing is putting more troopers on the road, and Novi has stepped up and given us a detachment for working space,” Wren said. “We’re just occupying (previously unused) space at the Novi Department.”
“We will derive nothing from this arrangement, the people of Michigan will,” Wren added. “Our relocation will allow us to deploy in a more timely manner to assist civilians.”
Wren said that the troopers have adjusted to the changes.
State police previously had lodged prisoners at the Novi Police Department and the process has continued with this new relationship.
“We’re pretty much moved in,” Wren explained. “We have office space, we’re more technologically savvy now and the troopers have everything they need in their cars with mobile data to pull up reports. We can now do everything from our car.”
Etue said in the release that the mobile office environment allows officers to electronically process tickets and crash data, and relay real time information from the highways to the courts.
The use of Novi offices and other detachments, coupled with the technology available in patrol vehicles, can be seen as an extension of state police having its troopers work from home in rural areas rather than reporting to a post.
The state police believe their presence in Novi will benefit not only their brethren in the city police, but also the people of Novi.
Wren said that if his department could respond to a car crash first, troopers could handle the situation until Novi police could take over.
Officials in both law enforcement agencies said the expanded relationship between the two departments is working well.
“This is a win-win all the way around,” said Novi Chief of Police David E. Molloy.Tweet
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