Calumet trustee discusses police protection

CALUMET — While the Village Council moves ahead with searching for a police chief, one trustee spoke of the need to examine its police force and the needs of the community.

Virginia Dwyer said she did some checking into the number of complaints in the village last year requiring a police response. She shared those findings at the latest council meeting.

Dwyer said village police responded to 295 complaints in the village during 2016. During the same period, the Michigan State Police responded to 211 calls, while the Houghton County Sheriff responded to 156 calls requiring the presence of a law enforcement officer, for a combined total of 662 complaints for the year.

“Now, when I did talk to the State Police and the Sheriff’s Department,” Dwyer said, “they said most of the complaints are confined to Fifth Street, Pine Street, some on Sixth Street and some at Park Avenue. That is a heck of a lot of complaints for a small jurisdiction.”

Dwyer said while she is a proponent of cutting funding where it is appropriate, there are some instances in which cuts should not be made.

“But we can’t cut law enforcement too much,” she said. “If someone wants to come in and start a business here — I see some business owners in the audience here — you need somebody working.” She then referred again to the number of police-required complaints for 2016.

“That comes out to almost two a day,” Dwyer said. “That is a lot. So, I just wanted to throw that out there. I’m a big proponent of cutting, but there are some things you shouldn’t be cutting.”