Now that the village of Wolverine Lake has severed the police services sharing agreement with Walled Lake, personnel changes are under way to enhance the department.
As of Wednesday, June 1, the Wolverine Lake Police Department has a contingency of eight officers — five full-time and three part-time. The Village Council approved the hiring of three new part-time officers at its May 11 meeting.
“These officers will supplement the full-time officers,” Wolverine Lake Police Captain John Ellsworth said. “It allows them more flexibility in scheduling and helps with vacations.”
The new part-time officers are paid $17 per hour.
The department has already relocated its offices from Walled Lake and back to the Village Hall. Prior to the department’s return, the police offices were updated.
“We modernized them by removing the paneling and a wall,” Ellsworth said. “We expanded the officers’ area. Our officers did all the work themselves. Their personal pride in their work shows.”
In addition, new computer equipment was purchased.
Ellsworth is currently awaiting the nod from the Village Council to purchase one new patrol car, as is budgeted.
As a means of moving forward, new Wolverine Lake police badges are expected to be distributed to officers in a ceremony held during the council’s meeting tonight, Wednesday, June 8.
“We’ve come back to our original logo,” Ellsworth said.
The department is still contracting with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department for dispatch services. However, it has signed an agreement with Wixom for inmate lock-up and record-keeping.
According to Ellsworth, Wolverine Lake will be shelling out $75 per person per night for lock-up, and $17,400 per year for record-keeping.
Wixom will begin retaining Wolverine Lake records effective July 1.
Wolverine Lake and Walled Lake entered a joint policing arrangement in 2007 to mitigate budgetary cutbacks. By consolidating dispatch, lockup and record-keeping, Wolverine Lake was able to reduce overall police department costs while maintaining a law enforcement presence on the streets. However, Walled Lake began gradually meting out services to other agencies, and subsequently the arrangement lost its advantage.
“Now that lock-up and dispatch has been farmed out, the savings altogether is not what was anticipated,” Ellsworth said.
According to a letter drafted by Village Council President John Magee, ending the joint scheduling arrangement will allow both communities to focus on the “best way to ensure public safety within (their) own boundaries.”
Ellsworth added that both departments maintain a mutually respectful and amicable relationship despite their parting of the ways.
“We are still working together and have a good relationship that I expect to continue, but it’s good to be home,” Ellsworth said.