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Letter to the Editor

 

Chief Dan DeKorte, Laingsburg Police Department; Chief Matt Balsley, Morrice Police Department; Chief Jason Hart, Durand Police Department; Chief Robert Brancheau, Lennon Police Department; Chief Chuck Allen, New Lothrop Police Department

10:49 am

Independent Editor,

   We, the undersigned chiefs of police, endorse the May 7th ballot proposal to construct, equip, operate, maintain and finance a new jail along with expanding correctional programming in Shiawassee County. The current facility was built in 1963, and despite some additions and improvements, there remain safety concerns for the officers.

   At this time, the sally port does not provide adequate space for officers if handling a combative subject, and it only allows for one patrol car at a time. The proposed sally port will have drive-thru access providing additional space if the subject becomes combative and additional parking space for more than one patrol car for multiple arrests, along with sage and secure access to the booking area.

   Air quality within the current facility causes the Data Master (Breathalyzer) to shut down and go out of service forcing officers to seek blood tests instead of doing a breath test. This poses further safety concerns for the officer and general public when dealing with OWI arrests, as officers have to go to the hospital for blood testing.

   We understand there are other concerns regarding the aging facility, i.e. health and safety of the employees that work there, HVAC, leaky roof, asbestos, standing water, mold, poor ventilation and lack of space to renovate for current law enforcement needs. The jail feasibility study indicated that it was not feasible to renovate the old jail. Their findings determined that it would cost the citizens of Shiawassee County more to renovate the current aging facility versus building a new one.

   Furthermore, a recent MDOC inspection indicated that the aging facility was the ninth oldest in the state. The report also stated that rust, corrosion, standing water and mold were all present along with no access to natural lighting, ventilation was poor and asbestos is present. The MDOC report concluded that a new facility is warranted. For these reasons, we the undersigned chiefs support the May 7th proposal.

Chief Dan DeKorte, Laingsburg Police Department

Chief Matt Balsley, Morrice Police Department

Chief Jason Hart, Durand Police Department

Chief Robert Brancheau, Lennon Police Department

Chief Chuck Allen, New Lothrop Police Department

Chief Dan DeKorte, Laingsburg Police Department; Chief Matt Balsley, Morrice Police Department; Chief Jason Hart, Durand Police Department; Chief Robert Brancheau, Lennon Police Department; Chief Chuck Allen, New Lothrop Police Department was last modified: May 6th, 2019 by Karen Elford