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Hancock Police to receive Calumet Police vehicle equipment

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette — Calumet Village has been without a police force since Chief Keith Anderson resigned affective May 27. While the village has a current millage that provides for police services, the council has not yet decided whether it will hire an officer or not. In the meantime, the Houghton County Sheriff’s Department will remove the computer equipment from the village police vehicle for use elsewhere.

CALUMET — At a special meeting of the Calumet Village Council last Wednesday, Houghton County Undersheriff, Kevin Coppo, addressed the council as well as the public on the topic of electronics equipment that is installed in the village’s police vehicle.

Coppo explained that the equipment, including a computer, is owned by Houghton County, and the Sheriff’s Department will remove it from the vehicle for use elsewhere. If the council decides to hire a police officer in the future, the equipment will be returned.

“It’s a matter of letting someone else use it, rather than just collecting dust,” said Caleb Katz, village manager.

Calumet’s Public Safety Committee, in August, had expressed its desire to recommend to the council to sell the vehicle, suggesting a price of $11,500, said committee member Doug Harrer. However, former Council Trustee Sandy Johnson, at the regular August meeting, had informed the council of a rumor that the village and the Hancock City Police Department had reached an agreement for the purchase of the car at $10,000.

Hancock Police Chief, Wayne Butler, said that he had made an inquiry, in an unofficial capacity, as to whether Calumet would like to sell the vehicle for what his department felt it was worth, which was stated as $10,000. That price would not have included the price of the computer, said Butler, because the computer already belongs to the Hancock Police.

Butler explained that purchasing the vehicle with the computer equipment already installed would have been convenient, as well as saving his department the cost of having it installed in another vehicle. However, the offer was unofficial, because Butler would have to propose the purchase, along with his reasons, to the Hancock Council.

“But that’s why we were only give them what the vehicle is worth,” said Butler. “They can’t charge us the $7,000 for the computer, or whatever it cost, because it’s already been paid for, and it belongs to us.”

Originally, the 911 Board conducted a survey of various departments to determine which departments had what equipment, what was needed, and who would receive it.

The computer that is currently in the Calumet vehicle was purchased by the 911 Board, using 911 funding, through Houghton County, Butler said. Originally, Michigan Technological University Public Safety received three computers, Houghton Police Department received three, and Hancock was initially allotted three, but their third computer was instead installed in Calumet’s vehicle.

Butler said that when he had spoken to the Undersheriff, who is also the 911 Coordinator, he confirmed that.

“At the last 911 Board meeting, they had to vote on it, to agree to let us get the additional equipment,” Butler said, “which they did. And that’s when we were told we would get the one out of the Calumet car.”

Butler said that while purchasing the vehicle would have simplified the matter, it was not necessary to his department.

His department, he said, had already applied for a grant for a new vehicle, which will most likely happen early in 2020, so there is no longer interest in purchasing Calumet’s car.

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