The southwestern Michigan city of Saugatuck has decided to cut ties with the combined Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department after a two decade partnership.
Saugatuck City Council voted 6-1 Monday to approve the change and plans to contract with the Allegan County sheriff's office for police services. The decision followed debate where community members, including officers from the combined department, opposed the change. Steve Kent, interim chief of the Saugatuck-Douglas Police Department, says the department will lose half of its eight officers. Saugatuck's current police service agreement runs until June 30. The Holland Sentinel reports a review by Saugatuck found that contracting with the sheriff's office will save $220,000 and reduce the city's budget for law enforcement by 38 percent. Plans call using savings to improve city parks and infrastructure including roads.