By Mary Drier
FAIRGROVE — Although the village of Fairgrove still doesn’t have its own police department, it at least it will once again “officially” have police services.
Police coverage in the village of Fairgrove has been a contentious issue on and off for several years. Technically, the village of Fairgrove has been without police coverage since former Akron Police Chief Antoine LaPratt quit in May 2012.
Since then, the current Akron Police Chief Mike Scarborough has provided some protection under mutual aid when necessary. However if a proposed agreement is approved, the village of Fairgrove will officially fall under Scarborough’s jurisdiction.
Fairgrove Township Supervisor Keith Aeder is trying to broker an agreement between the villages of Akron and Fairgrove for police coverage. Both villages and the township have approved the proposed arrangement are in the process of drafting paperwork to finalize it.
Aeder’s proposal is to use the township’s hours of police coverage to also include the village of Fairgrove, but with some provisions.
Police services would be provided through Fairgrove Township’s contract with the Akron Police Department and therefore Fairgrove Village would abide by those same terms as Fairgrove Township’s contract has for 10 hours a week of service, Aeder explained.
“The 10 hours allotted to Fairgrove Township would be shared with the village. Any requests that are out of the ordinary must be channeled through the township, and then will be taken to the Akron Village,” he explained.
“Under this agreement, the Akron Police Department would have no jurisdiction over village ordinances, fines levied within the village for liquor inspections, tickets and such, would be payable to the Akron Police Department.”
Aeder urged the village to use the allotted 10 hours of time judiciously.
“If the officer is requested to attend council meetings, the village must request this through the township and would come out of the ten hours,” said Aeder.
Fairgrove Township Attorney, John McQuillan, who is also a township trustee, will write up a formal proposal from the township to submit to Fairgrove Village Council and Akron Village Council for final approval.
A similar multi-jurisdictional arrangement was in place a few years ago; but at that time, Fairgrove Village residents paid Akron Village $20,857 for 15 hours a week of police coverage. However, between the hours the three municipalities contracted for, the area received the equivalent of 40 hours of coverage per week.
That multi-jurisdictional arrangement was in place until Fairgrove became dissatisfied and cancelled its agreement to operate its own police department for awhile. There were also issues with that so Fairgrove Village once again joined the multi-jurisdictional police agency. However when LaPratt quit the department shortly after the agreement was reached, Fairgrove decided to once again having just their own department, but it was never done.
Mary Drier is a staff writer for the Tuscola County Advertiser. She can be reached at [email protected]