Sara Swanson

Letter to the Editor: A response to article” Future of policing in Manchester riding on Washtenaw’s Proposal1”

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October 31, 2017

My name is Peter Psarouthakis and I have been the Sharon Township Supervisor for the past five years. I am responding to comments made in the Manchester Mirror article “Future of policing in Manchester riding on Washtenaw’s Proposal 1” by the Village of Manchester President Pat Vailliencourt. In that article President Vailliencourt stated that, “neither the current township supervisors nor any of the previous supervisors ever have felt that it (contracted police services from the county) was worth the expense. These townships rely on Michigan State Police coverage, and since the post north of Chelsea closed, this usually consists of a pair of officers, based out of Brighton, who may or may not even be in Washtenaw County at any given time. Response times to calls range from hours to days, and it is not uncommon to have them refuse to come out in person to investigate. The WCSO will respond to “life or death” situations in the four townships, and in those cases, often dispatches the deputy from the village. Vailliencourt explained that there are no regular patrols on our side of the county. If the village stops contracting with WCSO, the only real police presence in our corner of the county will be gone.” I only speak on behalf of Sharon Township and would not presume to speak on behalf of any other township or the Village when I say that this statement by President Vaillencourt is completely inaccurate and untrue as it relates to Sharon township. In Sharon township we receive excellent police coverage from the Michigan State Police, our primary service provider, and the two county wide cars from the County Sheriff department. Response times have been excellent as have communications. That is the reason we do not contract for police services, not because it is/was “not worth the expense”. To state that law enforcement “refuses to come out and investigate” in our township is a slap in the face to the great members of law enforcement that protect our township every day. I can produce plenty of evidence that law enforcement responds and investigates in our township very professionally. President Vailliencourt is also incorrect that State Police officers are only coming from the Brighton post. While that is where their command office is located the Troopers themselves, in many cases, are taking their work vehicles home and coming on duty from their home location. There are state police officers living and working out of western Washtenaw County which is one of the reasons why we receive such good response from them. Even the very limited two county wide Sheriff patrols do an excellent job responding to calls in our area. To say that, “If the village stops contracting with WCSO, the only real police presence in our corner of the county will be gone.” is again an inaccurate statement based on the reasons I give above. That kind of statement is agenda driven and a scare tactic to further that agenda. President Vaillientcourt is a great person and has served her community honorably for many years, but she has clearly been drinking the Sheriff’s Kool-Aid on this issue.

Will I be voting NO to Proposal 1? You can bet on it. I’m all in favor of providing the much needed mental health services to our county, but this proposal does not address that issue in a realistic way. It asks tax payers to pay for police services in other communities that those tax payers do not live in. Vote NO on Proposal 1.

Peter Psarouthakis
Sharon Township Supervisor

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