Law enforcement has been the “third rail” of local government consolidation, and most local elected officials have not wanted to commit political suicide by even getting near the police consolidation issue, says the Muskegon (MI) Chronicle. Police departments evoke strong emotional support from citizens wanting to keep their community names on the sides of the patrol cars protecting their neighborhoods. For communities like Muskegon, police consolidation could be in play this year. Forces outside of Muskegon County appear to be aligning to tackle service consolidations — or at least new cooperative measures — when it comes to the array of law enforcement agencies from the Michigan State Police, to the county sheriff offices and the various city and township police departments.
New Gov. Rick Snyder has established a law enforcement advisory panel. Ottawa County Sheriff Gary Rosema was appointed chairman of the group that includes new Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, the head of the Michigan State Police, Detroit's police chief, the Ingahm County prosecutor and police union officials among others. “I appreciate the fact that the new governor is looking at public safety and service delivery,” Rosema said. “Law enforcement is economically challenged. This committee will look at how assets are best utilized.”In Oakland County, just north of Detroit, the Sheriff's Department has entered an agreement with the city of Pontiac for the delivery of police services. The sheriff's deputies would replace the city's police department at a cost savings to the city of a reported $2 million.