Gas prices cause deputies to handle more about phone

Gas prices cause deputies to handle more about phone

ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — Another Michigan sheriff’s department has updated its nonemergency response policies to help combat rising gas prices.

Capt. Scott Matice told News 8 that the Allegan Sheriff’s Office will handle nonemergency calls over the phone when possible or delay its response times until a patrol unit is already in the area.

“We might hold that complaint until the shift change,” Matice said. “(Or) when an officer (is) closer to it.”

To date, the Allegan County Sheriff’s Office has used more than 60% of its gas operational budget. If gas prices remain high, Matice said his department may have to take drastic measures, including the reduction of patrols and enforcement all together.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Office has not had to cut back patrols. Sgt. Eric Brunner said that’s in part due to his department implementing restrictions to in-person deputy visits before the start of the pandemic.

“Our online incident reporting was established a number of years ago for nonemergency crimes,” Brunner said.

For example, “a car (vs.) deer accident or vandalism … folks can go online and file an incident report or a crash report when an officer response is not needed,” he said.

Brunner said that portal accounted for 3,100 reports last year or 5% of Kent County Sheriff’s Departments total calls. The establishment of this self-reporting portal has allowed deputies to respond to more urgent calls.

Deputies are also asked to stop their cars entirely instead of remaining idle during calls to help reduce gas usage. Gas prices within Michigan remain at an average of $5.21 per gallon for regular unleaded gas, according to AAA.

Michigan State Police announced last week that it will request an additional $2.8 million to cover the costs of rising gas prices. The request is pending state Legislature approval.

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