Ann Arbor mayor: Downtown police foot patrols may increase when weather gets warmer
"The department's always working to provide more foot patrol," Hieftje said. "The chief is very confident that they're serving downtown with the cars, and a lot of times they're just around the corner if something goes wrong. But we're always moving in that direction and there's a couple of strategies that are probably a little premature to talk about."
Hieftje said he and Council Member Stephen Rapundalo, who heads the council's labor committee, are working to get the city to a point where it won't be making further staffing cuts to the police department. He said it may even be possible to increase staffing next year because of savings realized from a new labor contract negotiated with the police officers union.
Steve Pepple | AnnArbor.com
"That gives us a little more flexibility in terms of dollars," Hieftje said, noting those savings kick in Jan. 1. "Our first challenge will be making up for people who retire, and we're expecting some retirements at the end of the year."
But with winter setting in, Hieftje said getting more officers on the streets of downtown likely can wait until warmer weather arrives.
"One of the things that does happen because of the climate here is we get a little break from some of the issues that some of us are worried about in the downtown area, and that gives us time," he said, predicting talks about adding foot patrols will pick up later on.
Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for AnnArbor.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to AnnArbor.com's e-mail newsletters.