Pontiac, Mich. police replaced by county sheriff under emergency manager reform
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Dept. took over patrols in Pontiac last night under a deal organized by Emergency Manager Michael Stampfler.
The move came after layoffs reduced the 180 person police force to just 50 active duty officers for the town of 60,000.
The Sheriff’s Dept. plans to assign 74 officers to Pontiac.
Stampfler has estimated that closing the 150 year old police department will save the cash-strapped city $2 million.
In June, as part of his plan to dissolve the department, Stampfler used his newly enhanced Emergency Manager powers to break the city’s contract with its police dispatchers.
Mlive reports that the future of Pontiac police service remains uncertain.
Oakland County has similar contracts with several local municipalities, but Pontiac’s is unique. Executive L. Brooks Patterson led a successful campaign for a last-minute amendment that allows Oakland to void the contract and suspend patrols if Pontiac goes bankrupt, so long as it provides a 30-day notice.
It’s unclear who would enforce the law in Pontiac if Oakland County backs out. And for a city that remains one of the more dangerous in Michigan, that’s a frightening prospect for residents.