2018-07-11 / News

Sandusky aims to stabilize police force

BY ERIC LEVINE
810-452-2689 •

It’s tough for rural communities to keep police officers.

Rookie officers hired into small departments are lured away after they get trained and experience under their belts, by bigger departments offering higher pay and better benefits.

Sandusky officials are hoping to stop the revolving door.

“Since 2011 I’ve had to replace two full time positions multiple times,” said Chief of Police Brett Lester. “Almost every year for the past seven years.”

The city council last week agreed to send a prospective officer, from the community, to the police academy.

City Manager Dave Faber said the individual the city has in mind is a local firefighter and paramedic who wants to become a law enforcement officer.

The plan is to hire the person as a city employee and put him through the 17-week academy, with a letter of understanding that the person would serve on the Sandusky force.

The council is trying to think “outside the box,” said Faber, by hiring someone already “vested in the community in the public safety sector.”

The city has the extra money for the program, said Faber, noting the 80 percent, or $1,447,000 fund balance in the general fund at the end of the 2017-18 fiscal year on Feb. 28.

In other business, council adopted a resolution to place the question of a city charter on the ballot in November.

Voters will be asked if they want the city to create a new charter to replace the Fourth Class City Act of 1895 that the city currently operates under, and to elect the nine-member charter commission to write the charter.

Sandusky is one of four cities in Michigan still operating under the public act adopted in the late 1800s that talks about Sandusky needing a harbor master to make sure goods are transported from Port Sanilac to Sandusky, and the office of town marshal, said Faber.

“I think it’s important to have a charter how government operates today,” said Faber.

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