Letter to the editor

We, the undersigned chief of police, endorse the May 7 ballot proposal to construct, equip, operate, maintain and finance a new jail along with expanding correctional programming in Shiawassee County.

The current facility was built in 1963, and despite some additions and improvements there remain safety concerns for the officers. At this time, the sallyport does not provide adequate space for officers if they are handling a combative subject, and only allows for one patrol car at a time.

The proposed sallyport will have drive-through access providing additional space if the subject becomes combative, additional parking space for more than one patrol car for multiple arrests, along with safe and secure access to the booking area.

Air quality within the current facility causes the Data Master (breathalyzer) to shut down and go out of service, forcing officers to seek blood tests instead of doing a breath test. This poses further safety concerns for the officer and general public when dealing with OWI arrests because officers have to go to the hospital for blood testing.

We understand there are other concerns regarding the aging facility, including health and safety of the employees who work there, HVAC, leaky roof, asbestos, standing water, mold, poor ventilation and lack of space to renovate for current law enforcement needs.

The jail feasibility study indicated it was not feasible to renovate the old jail. The findings determined it would cost the citizens of Shiawassee County more to renovate the current aging facility versus building a new one. Furthermore, a recent MDOC inspection indicated the aging facility was the ninth oldest in the state. The report also stated rust, corrosion, standing water and mold were all present, along with no access to natural light, ventilation was poor and asbestos is present. The MDOC report concluded that a new facility is warranted. For these reasons, we the undersigned support the May 7 proposal.

Chief Dan DeKorte

Laingsburg Police Department

Chief Matt Balsley

Morrice Police Department

Chief Jason Hart

Durand Police Department

Chief Robert Brancheau

Lennon Police Department

Chief Chuck Allen

New Lothrop Police Department

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