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BREAKING NEWS

Armstrong, county may have agreement for dispatching issue

By Staff | Sep 28, 2016

Chris Fuhrman represented the Armstrong City Council to present the agreement between the City of Armstrong and the Emmet County Sheriff’s Department at Tuesday’s Emmet County Board of Supervisor meeting.

“The City of Armstrong has agreed to pay off its dispatch bill in two installments, one this year and one next year,” Fuhrman said. “They are contracting for full dispatch services going forward.”

The agreement calls for 72 hours of law enforcement coverage from the Emmet County Sheriff’s Department each week, plus dispatch services for a flat rate of $25,000 per year.

Sheriff Mike Martens said, “I looked at this and said, ‘we could do that. It’s in everyone’s best interest to accept that.'”

The remaining 96 hours of the week would be handled by the City of Armstrong, either through police chief Craig Merrill, or by part time, on-call officers.

“We will get him one weekend off per month,” Martens said.

Fuhrman presented an agreement with a few changes from the City of Armstrong. “It mirrors the original agreement,” Furhman said.

Martens said, “My concern is that an agreement for [the Sheriff’s office] to cover sick time, vacation, time and two weekends off will overextend our office. I have a guy working the next six weekends. My guys aren’t getting two weekends off a month.”

Martens also pointed out that 72 hours per week on call for 52 weeks per year at $25,000 boiled down to Emmet County covering Armstrong law enforcement for approximately $3.34 per hour.

“Internally, they’re paying their officer about $15.42 per hour,” Martens said.

Fuhrman said, “Seventy-two hours per week is what the Sheriff’s office is covering. The additional 96 hours is on Armstrong. They wanted acknowledgement that this also covers sick and vacation time.”

Martens said, “That’s kind of how it is. Even covering vacation in our department stretches our resources thin.”

Supervisor Alan Madden said, “All they’re requesting is the 72 hours.”

Martens said, “On the whole, this seems like something we can work with; life happens, and I get that. I engineered that into the agreement. Unscheduled things happen, emergencies happen, and we will work with that to the extent we can.”

Fuhrman said, “It’s in both sides’ interest to make this work. I’m happy to see this come together.”

The matter will be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.

In other business, the Board of Supervisors set a public hearing for the Oct. 11 meeting at 9:30 a.m. on establishing a Class A Road, 440th avenue in Ellsworth Township.

The next Emmet County Board of Supervisors meeting will take place at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4.