COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - The Michigan State Police today officially offered their assistance to help Branch County provide law enforcement services in light of the pending layoff of 7 County Sheriff’s Department Road Patrol Deputies. The cutbacks coming January First will basically reduce by half the road patrol force eliminating 24/7 coverage.
The layoffs follow the voter’s rejection last month of a millage increase to support the road patrol. State Police Lieutenant Jim Coleman, commander of the Coldwater Post, which covers Branch, Calhoun, and St. Joseph Counties, spoke today to the Branch County Board of Commissioner’s Sheriff’s and Public Safety Committee. He said the State Police, and to a degree, Governor Snyder, is aware of the situation facing the county and said the State is committed to making any adjustments necessary with their resources to assure they have adequate patrols and staffing to aid the county.
Commissioner Dale Swift of Bronson, chairman of the County Board, told Coleman he was glad to hear the offer from the State Police since the public has been worried about how the county was going to be able provide the needed safety protection.
Coleman said he was happy to be in a position to help for a change. The previously depleted State Police ranks have been bolstered this year with the addition of two new trooper schools and Coleman said his post will be adding four new troopers in March and a priority will be re-instating a midnight patrol shift.