CPD lobby, not entire department closing

June 30, 2016

Clare Police Chief Brian Gregory said, “The Police Department is not closing.”

Clare Police Chief Brian Gregory said, “The Police Department is not closing.”

By Pat Maurer

Despite some apparent confusion over the article on the front page of the Review last Friday, The Clare City Police Department is not closing.

Clare City residents, confused and concerned over the City Commission’s recent budget cutting decision to close the police department lobby to the public, have been speaking out on the Review’s Facebook page.

Following are just a few of the comments the Review received:
* “Not enough time to make donuts and do their jobs. What a joke. Needed cutbacks to pay for the dry cleaner building they just bought for making cakes. Make a choice. Be a Barnie Fife or a Betty Crocker. Not both.”

* “Cops & Doughnuts – Clare City Bakery is not being paid for by our taxes, sheesh, however closing the police department will leave no other police department in Clare. Am I correct in that, it will be in Harrison, how’s that going to affect response times? I read the article, but am a bit confused.”

* “The city employees seem to have a healthy contract. Too bad cuts can’t be made there to help fund our public safety.”

* “Again, cutbacks disproportionately affect the poor. People without cars trying to get back on their feet who need police services need to go 15 to 20 minutes to another town. I’d be happy to pay higher taxes to keep the station open, but certain landlords and apartment complex owners don’t want to contribute. We want to take care of our town and its citizens! There are ways to increase revenue to keep the station open but it seems as if nothing was attempted or even looked into.”

* “So the residents of Clare continue to pay taxes to the police department and City of Clare and receive less services? I thought that the police department is supposed to ‘serve and protect’? How disappointing.”

First and foremost, Police Chief Brian Gregory stressed, the Police Department [which has nothing to do with the day-to-day operations of Cops and Doughnuts] is not closing. He said, “Residents all over Clare are worried that their safety may be affected with the closing of the lobby at the Police Department.”
He said he is concerned that Clare residents may not realize that the Clare Police Department will still maintain a huge presence in the city. “The lobby office will be closed, but our 24/7 police services will continue,” he said. “Officers will continue to be on duty in the City at all times.”

He continued, “Anyone who needs to contact us can still call the Police Department to talk to an officer, or leave a message. We will get back to them.”

He said the entry to the department will be open to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. “The lobby entry will have a complaint box and forms for people to fill out.”

One community service that will still be available in Clare is the prescription drop off box. “Prescription medicine can be dropped off at the Clare City Hall during regular business hours,” Gregory said. “They will have the drop box there.”

For an actual police emergency, Gregory said, “A yellow phone will be available just outside the Police Department building by the lobby entrance door. When the receiver is picked up, it will automatically ring directly into Central Dispatch.”

“And,” he continued, “for any emergency, City residents and businesses should call 9-1-1.” He said City Police officers will still respond.

The City Commission, in a vote taken after a closed session for police union negotiations June 7, unanimously voted to eliminate the administrative position of long-time Department Administrator and Dispatcher John Pedjac effective July 1.

The move means some of the walk-in and phone services that he routinely handled will no longer be available.

Gregory listed the services that will no longer be handled through at the department’s lobby.

Those services include:
*PBT or Preliminary Breath Test;
*Sex Offender Registration and Updates;
*Gun Purchase Permits;
*Oversight of the Drug Drop-Off Program;
*Public Walk-in – Point of Contact;
*Public Phone – Point of Contact;
*Media access closed.

Freedom of Information Access requests, Process of Mail-in Report requests and Public Report requests will still be available from the Clare City Clerk at the Clare City Office.

Other responsibilities of the desk officer will be distributed among the officers and command staff or contracted out, Gregory reported in an email to the City Manager last week.

Gregory said despite the change, “We will continue to do our best to give the citizens of Clare the police services they have come to depend on.”

He urged, “Please be patient with us while we work through this transition.”

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