By Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

The Byron Village Council voted during its Monday, April 11 meeting to contract with the city of Durand Police Department (DPD) for three months. The council voted Jan. 11 to temporarily suspend the village’s police department (BPD), and the village has been relying on the Shiawassee County Sheriff Department (SCSD) to provide emergency services and occasional patrols since then.

The council voted 5-2 Monday to contract with the DPD after the village’s personnel committee met with Durand City Manager Amy Roddy, Police Chief Jason Hartz, and Sergeant Tony Pletscher March 30 to formally discuss coverage options. With a police budget just north of $30,000, the village was told in March by Roddy that the council’s wish to have 40 hours of coverage was not possible, so the sides agreed to start with 20 hours of coverage per week, with the results to be evaluated after three months.

The council also heard a proposal from SCSD Lieutenant Dave Kirk in February that included 40 hours per week of coverage, but the annual cost of that plan would have been more than $40,000. The DPD officers make $15 per hour, and they would need to be sworn in as Byron police officers.

Byron Village President Kit Brunell and council trustee Janet Cole both voted against the decision, and Brunell said during Monday’s meeting that she would be in favor of hiring a chief for the BPD instead of contracting the services out.

“We’ve been three months without a police department,” Brunell said. “The residents have made it clear that they want police coverage in the village, but we need to keep the village’s finances in mind. I am prepared tonight to appoint Gene Taylor as the police chief for the village of Byron, but I need the council’s consent. He is interested and he is invested in our community, and I know that he would take the job for $11.25 er hour.”

Brunell also presented the council with a cost analysis comparison that shows that the village could reinstate the BPD and spend only $22,100 per year, compared to the $30,450 the village will spend in salaries, maintenance, mileage and gas costs with the DPD. She estimates the village would spend $585 per week to employ the DPD, versus $425 per week to use Byron police officers.

Durand Police was last modified: April 18th, 2016 by Karen Elford