(02/15/13) - Flushing Township will welcome back three former police
A year ago, the township board got rid of the police department in a money-saving move. Since then, the Genesee County Sheriff's Department has been patrolling the area.
Three weeks ago, an arbitrator awarded the officers their jobs back, after they sued the township, saying the board violated their contracts.
The officers aren't back on the job just yet. In fact, full reinstatement might still be weeks away. Those who live here fear they won't be able to afford a police force.
"The cost of bringing it back, what will it be to the taxpayers?" said Barbara Vantol, of Flushing Township.
That's the question a lot of people are asking in Flushing Township since an arbitrator awarded three former police officers their jobs back. Vantol has lived in the community for 26 years.
"Not that they shouldn't have their jobs back, we need to do something fair for the officers and to the taxpayers. We're the ones who are suffering," she said.
It's a busy Friday at Ultimate Visions hair salon. Owner Merlene Keesler lives and works in the township. Since the small police force was eliminated last year, the Genesee County sheriff's department has provided protection.
"It should have never been done in the first place and now that it has, we will have to come out of a big hole to get back where we were," she said. "I'm totally satisfied with the sheriff's department but it's only fair to the people who had their jobs to be allowed to come to their jobs."
"I agree with Merlene, the Sheriff's department is doing a good job, but I also know that I don't like my tax dollars paying two police departments," Vantol said.
When the department was disbanded, patrol cars, radios, computers and other police equipment were sold off. Lloyd Whetstone represents the officers who were let go. Whetstone says they're working with township officials to re-acquire gear and bring the force back into operation.
"They're ready to come back. We will look at lot of different things with the township, to make it right, make it right with the public, we need the public support obviously," said Lloyd Whetstone, Police Labor Council.
Whetstone says the township has money from the millage to pay for the officers.
He says they're paying more right now for coverage from the sheriff's department than they would if they had their own department.
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