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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oakland County Sheriff Picks Up More Coverage

In this era of tightening fiscal budgets, more municipalities are chopping their police forces.  Last summer, it was Clarkston; this fall it's Pontiac.

Oakland County has one of the more developed law enforcement organizations in the state.  Although the Sheriff too has undergone cuts, it continues to pick-up coverage area.

In the case of Pontiac, Chief Val Gross has been ordered to provide a transition plan by this Tuesday.  Apparently a memorandum of understanding has been executed between the Sheriff and the City of Pontiac.

According to Michael Stampfier, Pontiac's emergency financial manager, the primary law enforcement shift will save the city over $2 million annually.  The shift is slated to take effect for all services, including police dispatch, in January 2011.

In 2009, the Sheriff axed its Marine Division to cut costs.  Picking-up coverage of the City of Pontiac will further stretch the Sheriff's budget.  It is unclear what, if anything, the Sheriff will get out of the arrangement other than increased coverage responsibility within the County.  What is clear, however, is that the move appears necessary for Pontiac in order to stave-off financial ruin.

Some Pontiac residents oppose the move, calling on the Pontiac Police Department's union to block any further cuts in manpower.  They prefer the close relationship that is possible between residents and a municipal police force.

The City just recently completed the process of calling back many of officers and personnel laid-off last year.  The officers have made significant concessions over the years; they have not had a raise, for example, since 2003.  Unfortunately for the officers, the coverage shift will put the onus back on a force-reduction status.

Working for the state or local government in this era of Great Recession does not afford police officers, or other workers with job security.  Hopefully, this adjustment to the delivery of law enforcement services to the residents of Pontiac will not affect the quality of service.

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