(03/21/13) - Can Saginaw survive with just 55 police officers? We all might find out on July 1, when layoffs are expected to go into effect as the city tackles a more than $3 million budget deficit.
A plan to have the sheriff's department take over policing the city is apparently off the table - or is it?
Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel says he does not trust the city council at this point, so negotiations are off, but one of those city leaders wants to keep talking.
Some city leaders criticized the sheriff for saying no, once again, to a city proposal to have the sheriff's department patrol the city of Saginaw. His lack of trust is mainly aimed at councilman Dennis Browning, a former Saginaw police officer.
"He thought I turned my back on the city, but this is the same mayor pro tem that just a few months ago sat in a meeting and said, 'I am not in favor of giving my police department to the sheriff,'" Federspiel said.
Browning admits he said he doesn't want the sheriff's department taking over the city patrols, but he now believes it might just be the best option for the city. Federspiel has said the city's plan of having 80 full-time and four part-time deputies patrol the city would not be safe.
"I would probably have to agree, 80 is not enough, but it's a lot better than 55," Browning said.
That is the number of officers that will be on the streets of Saginaw on July 1 if proposed layoffs happen. But Federspiel says he is done talking with certain city leaders about the issue.
"I cannot and will not enter into business with people whose message continually changes, and cannot pay their bills," Federspiel said.
Browning wants the sheriff patrol option to remain open.
"Emotions run high, you think they run high between the council and the county, watch those emotions of those victims out there, the people that call and [are] not getting a response," Browning said.
If another option doesn't surface, 15 Saginaw firefighters will also be laid off on July 1.
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