Inkster police chief proposes Wayne Co. take over patrols - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Inkster police chief proposes Wayne Co. take over patrols

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INKSTER, Mich. (WJBK) - Just how strapped for cash is Inkster's police department?

"Half our police department is working without benefits," says Inkster's police chief Hilton Napoleon.

"They see the need is to fold this agency into a larger agency on behalf of the citizens, So, it's that critical," says Wayne Co. sheriff Press Director Paula Bridges.

Wednesday, Napoleon proposed a plan to the Wayne County Commission to eliminate the department and have the Wayne County Sheriff's Office take over patrols in the city. Napoleon says with so many cuts, it's the only option left.

"It is my job to see that the officers are put in the best position that they could be put in and also the citizens receive the proper police service that they deserve," Napoleon says.

Right now, Inkster's police department has 25 officers, including Chief Napoleon. That number is about a third of the 73 officers the department had in 2011. The plan is aimed to save every job possible.

"They want to make sure that they're doing all they can to meet the need, even if it means terminating their own positions at the top levels," says Bridges.

FOX 2's Erika Erickson asks Napoleon, 'What about you?'

He replies, "Oh I'll be gone."

Napoleon, brother to Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon, has been in law enforcement for 33 years, four of those in Inkster. He says the city's overall crime is down in the last year but violent crimes are continuously going up, Napoleon says because of cuts to the narcotics unit.

"We had a spike in homicides last year because of drug-related shootings," says Napoleon.

Worried it will only get worse if this isn't done, Napoleon says the plan, in its early stages, has been discussed for two years.

"Basically, they said, 'Look. We're finding ourselves so stretched thin that public safety is being affected.' And we understand that; that's not the first time we've heard that," says Bridges.

Now, as the commission reviews the plan, a feasibility study needs to be approved to ensure the move doesn't cost the county anything.

"We have to crunch the numbers because we know the county is having budget issues also," says Napoleon.

If approved, the plan is expected to save the city up to $900,000, a move Napoleon and the county says could become a trend.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some other cities coming to the table shortly thereafter because there's a lot of fiscal stress out there in our different cities," says Bridges.

But say in the end, safety of those who call the city home is most important.

"At the end of the day, if you're someone who has to dial 911, does it really matter who shows up to help?" asks Bridges.




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