Stories indexed with the term ‘Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department’

Ann Arbor OKs Weapons Screening Contract

At its July 2, 2012 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council approved a contract with the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office that will cost $187,000 annually to provide weapons screening services for the 15th District Court, located inside the city’s new justice center building at the corner of Fifth and Huron.

The contract pays $25.25 per hour per officer, with the number of officers estimated to be roughly three each day. Currently, the weapons screening takes place at metal detectors at the entrance to the building.

The city council engaged in lengthy deliberations at its April 2, 2012 meeting about the placement of the security check. The context of those deliberations was a vote on the acquisition of Ed Carpenter’s proposed “Radius” sculpture, at a cost … [Full Story]

Sheriff’s Office to Handle Ann Arbor Dispatch

At its Dec. 5, 2011 meeting, the Ann Arbor city council authorized a $759,089 annual contract with the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office to handle police dispatch operation for the city of Ann Arbor. The five-year agreement is anticipated to start in March of 2012. The Washtenaw County board of commissioners will still need to sign off on the deal.

According to the staff memo accompanying the council’s resolution, the city of Ann Arbor expects to realize at least $500,000 in savings annually compared to continuing to employ its own dispatchers. The cost savings arise from the fact that not all of the city’s current dispatchers would be hired on by the sheriff’s office. Around four city of Ann Arbor dispatchers would not have dispatching jobs under the new arrangement.

The contract is offset by a $12,520 facility use fee paid by the county to the city. The Washtenaw County sheriff’s office is already co-located with Ann Arbor police dispatch, in a facility above the city’s Fire Station #1 on Fifth Avenue just across the street from the municipal center. The sheriff’s office also currently handles dispatching services for  Northfield Township, Michigan State Police, Huron-Clinton Metropolitan Authority and the city of Ypsilanti. [Additional Chronicle coverage: "Ann Arbor, Washtenaw: Joint 911 Dispatch?"]

According the staff memo accompanying the council’s resolution, the consolidation of dispatch operations would put the city in the state of Michigan’s Economic Vitality Incentive Plan. The MEVIP has replaced statutory state-shared revenue as the means that the state legislature uses to distribute to local governmental units their portion of the state’s sales tax. The distribution of a portion of the state sales tax to local units is based on the fact that in Michigan, local units have limited ability to generate revenue through taxes.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link] [Full Story]

Federal Justice Grant Gets Final OK

Final approval to apply for an Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grant was given by the Washtenaw County board of commissioners at their Sept. 7, 2011 meeting.

The $42,587 grant would be awarded to the Washtenaw County sheriff’s office by the U.S. Dept. of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance. The funds would be used to support the sheriff’s community outreach program, according to a staff memo. Specifically, the grant would fund a part-time community engagement coordinator and two of the program’s five peer outreach workers.

No one spoke during a public hearing at the meeting to get input on how the grant will be used.

This brief was filed from the boardroom of the county administration building at 220 N. Main in Ann … [Full Story]

Washtenaw Police Services: What’s It Cost?

Washtenaw County board of commissioners working session (Nov. 4, 2010): A presentation last week to the county board by sheriff Jerry Clayton represented more than 18 months of research, and aims to put to rest an issue that’s caused tension within the county for decades: What does it cost to put a sheriff’s deputy on patrol?

Bill McFarlane, Pat Kelly, Pat Vailliencourt

Left to right: Superior Township supervisor Bill McFarlane, Dexter Township supervisor Pat Kelly, and Manchester village president Pat Vailliencourt talk before the Nov. 4 working session of the Washtenaw County board of commissioners. They are all members of the county's police services steering committee, which recently made a recommendation related to the cost of delivering police services in the county. (Photos by the writer.)

During Thursday’s working session, Clayton told commissioners it’s important to agree on the cost of delivering police services, before moving on to the question of price – or what the county will charge for that service, presumably a lower amount. He also outlined several policy issues that the board needs to address, including what metrics they’ll use to determine future adjustments in cost and price.

Currently, there are 74 county deputies paid through contracts with local municipalities, including Ypsilanti Township, Ann Arbor Township and Superior Township, among others. The current price is $144,802 per police services unit (PSU) – a term that includes direct costs like salary and fringe benefits, as well as indirect costs and overhead. Current contracts call for a 4% increase next year, bringing the price to $150,594.

The police services steering committee (PSSC), appointed by the board of commissioners, has been studying the cost of delivering this service for well over a year. Its recommendation, delivered by Clayton to the board at Thursday’s working session, is to set the cost per PSU at $176,108. Setting the price will be an issue to tackle next, and is likely to be a more contentious one. Current contracts run through 2011, and negotiations will begin next year for 2012 and beyond.

The idea of agreeing on a cost should help address the price issue, Clayton said, and should help to assure contracting municipalities that the dramatic price escalations of recent years will stabilize. County officials have said those increases were necessary because the price of the contracts has been significantly lower than the true cost of delivering police services.

Several PSSC members attended Thursday’s session, including leaders of Manchester and the townships of Ann Arbor, Dexter and Superior. They spoke to commissioners, in some cases quite poignantly, about the value that these contract deputies provide to the county as a whole – a value that’s not just limited to the municipalities that pay for the deputies, they stressed. The argument is meant to persuade the board to offset the cost of those deputies by charging a lower price. In the past, some commissioners have argued that the county is subsidizing the patrols in a way that’s unfair to residents of cities like Ann Arbor, who also pay for their own police force.

Notably absent from the meeting were representatives from Ypsilanti Township, the largest unit that contracts for deputies and a member of the PSSC. A year ago, voters defeated a millage that would have paid for police services, and township officials cut the number of deputies it uses from 38 to 31. [See Chronicle coverage: "County Board OKs Ypsi Twp. Deputy Cuts"] On Nov. 2, however, township voters approved a police services millage, with support from 58% of voters. A similar millage proposal in Augusta Township was voted down the same day. Meanwhile, Ypsilanti Township has been in talks with the city of Ypsilanti about consolidating the two municipalities’ police services – Ypsilanti has its own police force.

Then there’s the lawsuit that the townships of Ypsilanti, Salem and Augusta filed against the county in 2006 over the issue of contract deputy prices – commissioner Jeff Irwin pointed out during Thursday’s meeting that the case is “still lingering.” A judge will be hearing a motion on that case this Wednesday, as the county tries to recoup more than $2 million from two of the three townships.

The board did not take action on Thursday. Comments from commissioners indicate mixed views on the proposed cost model, with some arguing that more indirect or overhead costs should be included. However, nearly all of them praised Clayton for his leadership on this issue, thanking him for bringing civility to the discussion. It’s an indirect commentary on the board’s rocky relationship with Clayton’s predecessor, Dan Minzey, who was aligned with Ypsilanti Township and was defeated by Clayton in 2008. [Full Story]

Sheriff Requests More Staff for Expanded Jail

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners working session (March 18, 2010): At Thursday’s working session for commissioners, sheriff Jerry Clayton laid out staffing needs for a jail expansion that’s set to open this summer. If approved by the board, over the next two years the corrections division will add 39 full-time employees to its current staff of 103 workers.

Jerry Clayton

Washtenaw County sheriff Jerry Clayton, left, talks with county commissioner Mark Ouimet after the March 18 working session for the board of commissioners. (Photos by the writer.)

The additional expenses associated with those new hires would increase the corrections budget by $1.478 million this year and $3.248 million in 2011. County administrator Bob Guenzel told commissioners that there are sufficient funds to cover those costs. However, looking ahead to 2012 and 2013, the administration is projecting a two-year shortfall for the corrections division of nearly $2 million – a possibility that commissioner Jeff Irwin described as “scary.”

Commissioners in general were supportive of the sheriff’s proposal, and of his approach to managing the jail. Clayton had previously outlined for the board several efforts that the department is making to raise revenues and cut costs. On Thursday he made a case that the expanded jail is necessary to achieve the county’s vision: Keeping residents safe, while providing programs and services to address the root causes of incarceration. [Full Story]

Townships Lose Again in Deputy Patrol Case

The Michigan Supreme Court has refused to reconsider its decision to deny an appeal from three local townships in a long-running legal battle with Washtenaw County over the cost of sheriff deputy patrols. The decision, issued on Feb. 26, effectively ends the townships’ recourse with the state’s high court.

The county now plans to ask for a judgment for the amount it believes the townships of Augusta, Salem and Ypsilanti owe to cover previous costs of providing those deputy patrols in 2006. County officials had intended to make that move in September of 2009, when the Supreme Court first decided not to hear the case. At the time, the county was planning to seek payment in the $2 million range. [Full Story]

County Board Gets Update From Sheriff

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners (Feb. 17, 2010): In an extensive presentation to the board, sheriff Jerry Clayton laid out changes he’s made in his department since he took office just over a year ago, and discussed his goals and priorities for the coming years.

Gene DeRossett, Elmer White, Derrick Jackson, Jerry Clayton

Sheriff Jerry Clayton, right, talks with Derrick Jackson, director of community engagement for the sheriff's department, before the Feb. 17 county board of commissioners meeting. Behind them are Gene DeRossett, left, chief administrative officer for the 14-A District Court, and Elmer White, who gave an update on the USS Washtenaw exhibit. (Photo by the writer.)

One of the most significant changes was financial. In 2009, overtime hours dropped 36%, leading to nearly $1 million in savings during the year. The department also raised $1 million in new revenues, exceeding Clayton’s projections.

Beyond that, Clayton presented his broad philosophical approach to managing law enforcement in the county, and discussed some of the challenges he faces in light of the current economy.

Law enforcement also came up in a separate discussion during the board’s Wednesday meeting, as commissioner Wes Prater raised concerns over the county’s internal financial controls. Though he’s been agitating for action on this front for several months, his decision to ask the board to form a review committee was prompted by the recent arrest of a county employee charged with embezzling over $100,000.

Commissioners also spent considerable time on Wednesday debating the process of formally revising their priorities. The effort is aimed at adapting the priorities to reflect the county’s diminishing resources. While commissioners agreed that community input was crucial, there was no clear consensus about what the process for gathering that input should be, or how much time it will take.

Finally, the board got a brief update on the Wireless Washtenaw project, a coda to a report given at their Jan. 20 meeting. The firm that’s handling the project, 20/20 Communications, is partnering with Southfield-based Internet 123 and plans to submit a revised business plan for Wireless Washtenaw within 60 days. [Full Story]

County Board OKs Ypsi Twp. Deputy Cuts

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners meeting (Dec. 7, 2009): In a continuation of last Wednesday’s board meeting, commissioners on Monday night approved a contract amendment with Ypsilanti Township, reducing by seven the number of sheriff deputies that will be dedicated to patrolling the township in 2010. Though several commissioners voiced concerns over the deal, only Jeff Irwin voted against the resolution.

Several issues remain unclear, however, including what the township will do regarding sheriff patrols in 2011, and how its decrease in patrols starting Jan. 1, 2010 will affect the rest of the county. Commissioner Kristin Judge said the situation demonstrates that the system of policing in Washtenaw County is broken.

And echoing an idea floated at Saturday’s Ann Arbor city council retreat, commissioner Barbara Bergman said that perhaps it’s time for the city of Ann Arbor to consider contracting its police services with the sheriff’s department, too. [Full Story]

County Board Faces Full Year-End Agenda

A detail from a letter sent to Sheriff Jerry Clayton and Washtenaw County administrator Bob Guenzel from Ypsilanti Township supervisor Brenda Stumbo, about the township's need to reduce its number of contract deputies.

A detail from a letter sent to Sheriff Jerry Clayton and Washtenaw County administrator Bob Guenzel from Ypsilanti Township supervisor Brenda Stumbo, about the township’s need to reduce its number of contract deputies.

At what’s likely to be their final meeting of the year on Dec. 2, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners faces a heavy agenda – including items that generated some animated discussion at the board’s pre-meeting briefing on Nov. 24.

The agenda includes a final vote on the 2010-2011 budget, approval of two collective bargaining agreements, a presentation detailing how county funds are being awarded to local human services nonprofits, and a proposal by the sheriff to amend a police services contract with Scio Township.

Sheriff Jerry Clayton attended Tuesday’s administrative briefing for commissioners – held one day earlier than usual, due to the Thanksgiving holiday. He was there to answer questions about the Scio Township proposal, but the focus of commissioners’ questions related instead to the situation in Ypsilanti Township. Earlier this month, voters there rejected a public safety millage that would have paid for 10 of the 38 sheriff deputies that police the township, under contract with the county. Township officials have asked the county to amend the contract, reducing its number of deputies to 28.

“It’s a complicated issue,” Clayton told commissioners. [Full Story]

Sheriff Suggests Way to Add Deputies in Scio

County commissoner Mark Ouimet, right, talks with xx

County commissoner Mark Ouimet, right, talks with Washtenaw County Sheriff’s commander Dieter Heren after Monday's meeting of the county's police services steering committee. During the meeting, Ouimet was added to the membership of a finance subcommittee, which will be looking at the cost of sheriff deputy contracts with local municipalities. (Photo by the writer.)

As reported in The Chronicle’s preview of the upcoming Nov. 18 Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners meeting, the agenda includes an item to be presented by Sheriff Jerry Clayton, listed on the agenda as a “Recommendation of Policy for Adding Contract Deputies.”

At last week’s administrative briefing, few details were available about Clayton’s presentation. So when county administrator Bob Guenzel mentioned to commissioners that Clayton would be discussing the item at the county’s Police Services Steering Committee meeting, held on Monday, The Chronicle made a point to attend.

The issue of contract deputies has been contentious – one that resulted in a years-long legal battle between the county and three townships. The dispute has centered on how much municipalities have to pay to contract with the sheriff’s department for deputy patrols, and what the true cost of providing those patrols is –  a price versus cost issue. A policy change could be significant, if it addressed these issues.

At Monday’s meeting of the police services steering committee, which includes several township supervisors, public safety officials and four county commissioners, Clayton made it clear that any recommendation for broader policy change is a work in progress. [Full Story]

Panel Sheds Light on Washtenaw Jail

people standing signing release forms for video

Release forms for a video of Thursday's panel are collected from panelists by Shannon Riffe of the Ann Arbor District Library, far left. Standing left to right are county commissioner Barbara Levin Bergman, Washtenaw County sheriff Jerry Clayton, and Christine Negendank, of the county's Community Support and Treatment Services. Not in this photo, but also on the panel, was Washtenaw County prosecutor Brian Mackie. (Photo by the writer.)

During Thursday night’s panel discussion on the Washtenaw County jail, one message from sheriff Jerry Clayton was this: It’s his job to administer the jail, but it’s the whole county’s jail – it’s our jail.

Clayton was joined on the panel by Washtenaw County prosecutor Brian Mackie, Washtenaw County commissioner Barbara Levin Bergman, and Christine Negendank, a psychiatrist with the county’s Community Support and Treatment Services department. The event was hosted by the League of Women Voters at the downtown Ann Arbor District Library.

The format allowed some time for audience members to have their written questions put to the panelists. Among those questions were concerns about translation services at the jail for non-English speaking inmates and possible racial profiling of Latinos in the immigrant population.

Questions posed by the League of Women Voters provided panelists a chance to give somewhat of a tutorial on how the government’s system of punishment works – Brian Mackie was asked to start with an explanation of the difference between jail and prison. [Full Story]

County Reorganizes 911 Dispatch

Ken Weber

Ken Weber of Weber's Restaurant & Hotel, foreground, sits next to Kevin Gudejko of Main Street Ventures at the Nov. 4 county board of commissioners meeting. They were among the restaurateurs who spoke at a public hearing and questioned the need for a proposed food safety training program. (Photo by the writer.)

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners (Nov. 4, 2009): After removing a major item from their agenda – the 2010/2011 budget – county commissioners spent the bulk of their Nov. 4 meeting listening to presentations, reports, and a public hearing. Commissioners also voted and approved a new tax to raise roughly $603,000 annually for economic development. The 0.04 mills will be collected on the December 2009 tax bill.

Sheriff Jerry Clayton spoke about plans to reorganize the county’s central dispatch and emergency services operation. Changes include co-location of the county and the city of Ann Arbor’s central dispatch, which will both be housed in Ann Arbor.

Dick Fleece, director of the county’s Public Health/Environmental Health department, gave an update on the H1N1 outbreak and vaccination clinics in Washtenaw County. [On Monday, Nov. 9, the county announced a new clinic for mass immunization of people in expanded priority categories. That clinic will be held on Saturday, Nov. 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor.]

Commissioners also heard concerns from local restaurant owners and managers – including Ken Weber of Weber’s Restaurant & Hotel, and Rick Strutz of Zingerman’s Deli – during a public hearing on a proposed new food safety training program. [Full Story]

State Supreme Court Ruling Favors County

Late last Friday, the county was notified that the state Supreme Court has denied an appeal request from three local townships in a years-long legal battle with Washtenaw County over the cost of sheriff deputy patrols. Now the county plans to seek a judgment for roughly $2 million from the townships of Augusta, Salem and Ypsilanti to cover previous costs of providing those patrols.

In an email sent to the county Board of Commissioners on Monday morning, Curtis Hedger – the county’s corporation counsel – wrote that the county plans to ask 38th Circuit Court Chief Judge Joseph Costello to issue a judgment in the case. “We estimate that given the number of hours provided to the Townships without a contract in 2006 at the rate approved by the Court of Appeals, plus judgment interest which goes back to January 2006, the judgment should be in the $2 million dollar range,” Hedger wrote. [Full Story]

County Board to Consider Settlement Deal

A proposed $1.375 million settlement in two lawsuits against Washtenaw County could close another chapter in a 2006 incident that occurred in the Ypsilanti Township neighborhood of West Willow. Clifton Lee died after a struggle with sheriff’s deputies there; his brother, Bruce Lee, was injured. Bruce Lee and his mother, Beatrice McKeown, both sued – Washtenaw County commissioners will vote on a proposed settlement agreement on the lawsuits at their Wednesday, Sept. 2 board meeting.

The county had previously settled a wrongful death lawsuit brought by the heirs of Clifton Lee. For that $4 million settlement, the county paid $250,000 and insurance covered $3.75 million. Insurance will cover all but $125,000 for the current proposed settlement. The county plans to cover that remaining $125,000 out of attorney reimbursement funds from its insurer.

At the commissioners’ Aug. 26 administrative briefing, the county’s attorney, Curtis Hedger, said the settlement proposal was along the lines of what had been discussed with commissioners in a closed executive session they’d had about the pending litigation. [Full Story]