Montcalm County Sheriff’s Office cuts 24-hour patrols

MONTCALM COUNTY — For the first time in its sheriff’s 38-year career, Montcalm County Sheriff’s Department will cease 24-hour patrols.

The change went into effect on Monday as the result of a $733,000 deficit in the county’s general fund, about $345,000 of which was eliminated from the sheriff’s office operating budget.

In a statement issued on Monday, Sheriff William Barnwell said the department lost an entire shift of deputies to the cuts and he is “very concerned of the negative impact the cuts will have on the public safety of Montcalm County residents.”

A 0.6-mill millage proposal for the county will appear on Montcalm County ballots in November. Approving the millage would generate about $971,000 for two years, which would provide funding to restore 24-hour patrols.

In the meantime, Barnwell said the department plans to work with local police and the Michigan State Police to provide 24-hour coverage.

The elimination of 24-hour patrols in Montcalm County will not affect the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Department, which has a mutual aid agreement with the neighboring department.

Sheriff Todd Purcell said the agreement only covers “large-scale emergencies,” such as an active shooter situation or extensive tornado damage. Mecosta County deputies would not be asked to respond to other types of calls in Montcalm County during times when Montcalm County deputies are off duty.

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Posted by Whitney Gronski-Buffa

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