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Posted on Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 9 a.m.

Is six or seven officers on patrol an adequate level of police presence in Ann Arbor?

By Ryan J. Stanton

Just how safe is Ann Arbor? And how safe will it be if the police department faces another round of deep cuts?

Those questions were asked by several Ann Arbor residents this week as City Administrator Roger Fraser proposed his budget for fiscal year 2010-11. The budget recommends reducing the number of full-time employees in the police department from 182 to 162.


Ann Arbor resident Patricia Lesko, who is running for mayor, rode along with one of the seven city police officers on patrol on Wednesday.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Under Fraser's plan, police spending would be trimmed to $24.71 million, about a $1.75 million — or 6.6 percent — reduction from the amount budgeted at the start of 2009-10. Of the 20 positions proposed for elimination, six already are vacant.

A small group of politically active citizens concerned about public safety issues fired off an exchange of e-mails this week regarding police patrols in Ann Arbor. Their questions generated responses from city officials that shed some light on the issue.

The exchange started with an e-mail from 4th Ward resident Jack Eaton, who is running for a seat on the City Council. Eaton wrote council members on Wednesday morning to ask about a situation he heard about where there were only six officers on patrol to cover the whole city on a recent afternoon shift from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

"All the officers just went from call to call to call, often being told to ignore one call because a more important one had come in," read a report from a neighborhood activist that Eaton shared. "If a major crime happened, such as a bank robbery, all six of them would have gone to that scene and would not have been able to respond to anything else that happened."

Eaton shared his own thoughts with council via e-mail.

"The report that the city police force was so seriously understaffed alarmed me," he told council members. "I am asking that you inquire about the reported under staffing and inform me whether this is deemed acceptable. I hope that you will provide a prompt response so that I may pass along the city's explanation to other who share my concern."


As few as six or seven officers may be on patrol at any given time.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Eaton promptly received a response from Council Member Sabra Briere, D-1st Ward, who relayed the following message from Fraser:

"As with so many of these reports, there is a fraction of truth that attempts to justify the suppositions. Today, we have essentially the same number of people on patrol as we previously had. Even several years ago, our officers have had days when they run from call to call, and yet there are also many shifts in which boredom is possible. That is the very nature of the safety business. The good news is that crime rates in our city continue to drop and public safety has not diminished.

"It is also true that continued cuts will ultimately impact our ability to serve. You, personally, know the arguments well. We have very few choices as we work to balance services with declining revenues."

The city's ongoing issues around public safety prompted mayoral candidate Patricia Lesko to do a six-hour ride-along with one of Ann Arbor's sworn officers on Wednesday morning. She discovered there were few cars on patrol, and that was normal for Ann Arbor.

"There were exactly seven sworn patrol officers on duty to patrol the entire 17,700-acre city, and to respond to calls from its 90,000 adult residents; one patrolman was absent today," Lesko wrote in an e-mail to several people, including council members and "The University of Michigan has two cars with sworn officers patrolling. Between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. we never saw either of those U of M patrol cars."

Lesko said the number of sworn officers on patrol in Ann Arbor has been reduced by half since 2006.

"The officers who patrolled Main Street, for instance, are gone," she said. "'Crime is down' is not quite true when one compares Ann Arbor to other towns in the Midwest the same size. Crime statistics released to you are never shown in comparison to those in other 100,000-250,000 pop. cities. FBI Uniform Crime Statistics show that crime is UP in certain categories in Ann Arbor as compared to similarly-sized towns."

As an aside, Lesko said she believes overhead charges related to the police department are "out of control." She urged council members to start by asking Fraser why the police department was charged $50 by the city's fleet department to change a single windshield wiper.

The police department has been cutting back for the last several years, dropping from 210 full-time employees just two years ago to the 162 now proposed in Fraser's budget for next year.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.



Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 1:37 p.m.

Yes crime free, utopian Ann Arbor! No need for self defense here, phew!

Jon Saalberg

Mon, Apr 12, 2010 : 8:20 a.m.

@braggslaw: Trust me you should be glad I have a gun. Trust me, I'm not glad. But if it make you happy to carry a firearm, great. I've never spent a penny on a firearm, and don't worry for a moment that I don't have one. If I did, that would concern me. We don't live in the wild west, we live in Ann Arbor.

Lisa Hirsch

Sun, Apr 11, 2010 : 7:41 p.m.

I would like more information about what all the other officers are doing. If we only have 8 officers on the streets - times 3 shifts that is only 24 people. What are the other over 100 people doing? I do not have a clear understanding of what other positions there are in the police dept. - dispatchers, jailers, detectives? Give us a real picture of what the police department does. If we need more people on the street but we can't as a city afford as many people, can there be some reorganization of the police dept.? Or can there be cuts to pay/benefits so that we can keep more officers? I think there are some compromises that could be made by both the police and the city. could help clarify what those options might be instead of fanning the flames of the argument for or against cuts.

scooter dog

Sun, Apr 11, 2010 : 7:33 a.m.

The city can't be too straped for funds as I see aa police cars parked at a restaurant far,far past the city limits on jackson rd eating breakfast pretty regular.When will the circus end?

Cendra Lynn

Sat, Apr 10, 2010 : 10:04 p.m.

Happy to step in here and testify. The council member was forwarded part of a message I wrote to my particular small group of politically active citizens concerned about public safety issues. I'd call myself a concerned citizen, but I guess I am actually active regarding public safety issues. I've been a Neighborhood Watch Block Captain since 1987, was on the Neighborhood Watch Advisory Board, have graduated from the Citizens Police Academy, and am a trained First Responder. I serve as a citizen volunteer to the police. My facts came from a conversation with a member of the A2 Police. Much or most of this information should have been available to Ryan Stanton. Many of the assumptions made here about the police are not true. Perhaps there should be a series about the police and the fire deparments, explaining how they work, how they are currently handicapped, and their high level of dedication, not to mention that they all lay their lives on the line for citizens.


Sat, Apr 10, 2010 : 11:45 a.m.

Excellent questions, Awakened. Stepping back, regrettably, this entire news story appears to be an unsubstantiated allegation based on third hand hearsay: "A council member 'heard' there were six officers on patrol" Hello? From a 'report' from a 'neighborhood activist'? An activist with a cause? What cause? "A small group of politically active citizens concerned about public safety issues"? Any confirmation? Any fact checking? Any challenges? Any talk with the shift supervisor? Any talk with the chief? Regretably, not the best researched story...


Sat, Apr 10, 2010 : 10:34 a.m.

@ Alphaalpha Another way of looking at it would be 7officers per shift x24 hours in a day = 168 hours. But realisticly one would be at the police desk, one on vacation, one sick/training etc. So lets say 10 assigned to each shift. 240 hours. 7 days a week for 1680 hours. 40 hours per week.... 42 officers. I know there is a group (20?) of detectives. And if 'Workin for A2's' numbers are right then 25 (20+%) supervise, we're still not accounting for something like 20 officers. Surely they cannot all be behind a desk? Does anyone know how many officers are ACTUALLY assigned to patrol work? Some of the other half of the department are detectives and I believe one works the police desk each shift. It appears 20+% are supervisors. Where are the rest? Does anyone know? Or are my numbers wrong?


Sat, Apr 10, 2010 : 10:27 a.m.

"Those needing weaponized-help usually prefer calling the police..." And for those where that is their ONLY for of self defense, they must first have the ability to make that call or hope someone does it for them and then must survive until the police can get there. An appropriate phrase is : "when seconds count, the police are only minutes away." Here is an article from our neighbors in Ohio with similar cuts pending. What does a judge there suggest? The point is if perhaps we were all more SELF reliant, the police could be spared to respond to less critical calls, OR when responding to critical calls, the situation may have already been resolved. Hopefully by de-escalation but if not by self defense. Wouldn't we prefer to have the police but to NEED them? Those who understand this simple concept support our police but fear mongering does not affect our decision processes come tax or budget time.

Art Holland

Sat, Apr 10, 2010 : 8:26 a.m.

I see a lot of comments concerning public safety and how cutting the head count at the police department is going to cause crime to explode in our city. Lots of fear being spread there. Then I see a lot of comments about the declining city coffers due to the economy and devalued property values. A little dose of reality and fear there. What I don't see are any comments about how the good citizens of Ann Arbor are lining up to pay more taxes so the level of services doesn't decline. You can't have it both ways, folks. ALL city services (e.g., police, fire, leaf pick up, road repairs ) are paid for with your tax money. When that revenue goes down, so will the services that money paid for. It's not pretty, or fun, but it is real.


Sat, Apr 10, 2010 : 8:23 a.m.

Christine, I find it interesting in one comment you praise the AAPD as your daughter had " recently " been hit by a car...(funny it never made the news) then further down you make another comment on cut the force you they don't care about you anyway and go on to say what a joke they are... Which is it? Maybe another troll on the loose?????


Sat, Apr 10, 2010 : 2:35 a.m.

@donbee a county wide fire dept. could possibly work. but i doubt it would work for law enforcement. aren't there already problems with certain parts of the county and the sheriffs dept.? imagine if you add ann arbor and pittsfield into the mix. plus i don't see the different powers at each agency wanting to give up their control on what they already have authority over.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 10:42 p.m.

Btw, all - 124 workers times 40 hours = 4960 worker hours 7 days times 24 hours = 168 hours per week 4960 worker hours / 168 hours per week = 29.5 workers per hour. If ever there are only six or seven officers on patrol, perhaps the real question is: why is the work schedule arranged in that fashion?


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 10:34 p.m.

Workin - A couple minor concerns: The 2.3 value is irrespective of commuters and shifts worked. Also, in this case, the A2 population should be considered as ~79,000; the UM has a police force. Third, as you alluded, 2.3 per thousand and 919:1 are at odds. Using ~79,000 effective population should yield ~1.6 officers per 1,000. Reasonably close to the national average. Thank you for the stats. Facts are helpful. The more facts, the less rhetoric we'll hear...


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 10 p.m.

There was discussion about the idea of one combined fire department and maybe it is time to think about 1 combined police force for the county. Combine the police, sheriff, etc into one department. This will reduce the number of desk staff and command officers and put more officers on the street. Reducing the number of government units and separate government organizations in the county is the only way to maintain services and cut costs. I hope that people can see this as a possible solution. We need our tax dollars to do more, and combining units of government is one way to do that.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 8:34 p.m.

If all A2 employees union and non union take a 10% paycut and a 10% cut to pensions and healthcare (whether through increased copays or actual cuts) there would not have to be massive layoffs of anyone union or non union. Of course as the number of residents drop in A2 there will be a need for fewer government employees but let's do the right thing and demand lower pay across the board,especially for the ridiculous union pensions and healthcare!

Workin for A2

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 8:19 p.m.

@Loka... Sorry for the the second paragraph at the beginning I did compare apples to apples...national average is 2.3 officers per Ann Arbor it is 1 officer for every 919...this is based on 114000 population divided by 124 sworn personnel...just the simple average. The rest was thinking out loud so to would be difficult to compare national averages on a per shift basis.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 8:16 p.m.

Most police officers write tickets because they have to, not because they want to. There are times when people really deserve a ticket and an officer likely feels good about giving that one, but in general I bet most officers would rather do actual investigations rather than be a revenue generator for their bosses. Who are their bosses? The elected and appointed officials. What party are your elected officials from? Get the point?


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 7:33 p.m.

What happened? Did you forget about grammar here? "Is six or seven officers on patrol....". How about "Are" six or seven officers on patrol.....Where or where are the journalists????


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 7:12 p.m.

"For populations such as ones in the US, the proportion of police officers required for day-to-day law enforcement duties among generally peaceful populations comes to a force ratio ranging from one to four police officers per 1000 residents." A quick snoop around the net keeps coming up with your average number, but never takes into account officers working per time/people in the city. Am I too assume you would count daytime visitor/outsdie employee numbers in a large city like new York? Which must inflate millions of people each day?


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 6:54 p.m.

"Nationally the average police to population ratio is 2.3 officers per 1000." "using the lower figure that would be 1 officer for every 1,370... but then again not every sworn personnel is working during the" Wait wait wait....You never started that segment by saying the national average was 2.3 officer per shift time of actual officers on the street during working hours. Is that what you meant or is this math a little fuzzy?


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 6:36 p.m.

The main duty of police is revenue generation with nuisance taxes and ultimately more and more nanny laws as more and more revenue is needed. It's a business pure and simple. To serve and protect is a joke. The police could care less about you. They do nothing more than buy and sell human misery. I see from the poll results, it scares people that there will be less revenue collectors in town. Pfft. Really, people? I'd expect a higher level of analytical thought and far less sheeple responses from a town like Ann Arbor. What a shame. Seems like a lot of residents still believe in the boogeyman. Cut the force, it won't make any difference in your safety. It never has. It never will. When real trouble comes, there won't be a police officer. Look at N'Orleans post-Katrina. Look at Chicago. Think about it. Garbage collectors do more to impact your quality of life.

Workin for A2

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 6:34 p.m.

Here are some hard and factual stats...In 2001 Ann Arbor Police Deparment employed 187 sworn personnel, this included command officers and police officers (which includes detectives) break it down further...1 Chief, 3 Deputy Chiefs, 36 Lts and Sgts and 147 Police Officers and Detectives. Today, there are 124 sworn personnel...1 Chief, 2 Deputy Chiefs, 22 Lts and Sgts and 99 Police Officers and Detectives. With the proposed budget they are looking at 87 Police Officers and Detectives, 1 Chief, 2 Deputy Chiefs and 22 Lts and Sgts. How many is enough? Nationally the average police to population ratio is 2.3 officers per 1000. AAPD ratio is 1 sworn personnel (124, includes Chief) for every 919 residents (based on 114,000 population). Daytime population (includes commuters) is much higher...I have seen estimates anywhere from 170,000 to 230,000...using the lower figure that would be 1 officer for every 1,370... but then again not every sworn personnel is working during the realistically about 50 sworn personnel are working during the daytime (this is still an inflation of the true number considering days off, scheduled vacations) so that would be 170,000 divided by 50 is...1 sworn personnel for every 3,400 residents/commuters on any given day... So how many officers are enough? I guess City Council and Mr. Fraser will decide unless the silent majority publicly speaks out.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 6:01 p.m.

To get a concealed weapons permit you have to go through one of the most rigorous back ground checks available for a non-military citizen. Only one person has been shot and killed in Michigan by a person carrying a permit and that person was not prosecuted because he was defending himself. People who have permits know how to use the weapon and are the some of the most law abiding citizens in this state. Trust me you should be glad I have a gun.

Dominick Lanza

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 5:54 p.m.

I think our police and fire do an excellant job the cuts are not being spread evenly in Fire its 2 millon out of 14 million which is a whopping 15% of the budget and 22 % of the workforce and the police are losing 12+% of their workforce what happened to the 3% across the board for everybody the city attorney is proposed for 1 person cut is that 15% in dollars or people? What about parks etc etc if we need to cut lets settle on a percentage and take the same percent from each area of course if your budget is less and the number of employees the numbers will be lower but the sum total will be whatever percentage is decided. At least then ALL services would suffer equal this is a lopsided cut against public safety


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 5:24 p.m.

Recently, our daughter was hit by a car on a street in Ann Arbor. The policemen on duty took great care with her and were able to apprehend the driver as well. I believe it was the training and experience of these officers that allowed them to perform their tasks so well. We don't need to lower their numbers, we need to support them. It's easy to realize how important they are when it affects your own loved ones.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 4:47 p.m.

@TRS80 Even the "wild west" isn't the wild west you are portraying. As for more carriers = less crime...well though the correlation is in debate, the increase of CCW licensees has coincided with the reduced incidence of crime....


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 4:46 p.m.

The last FTE number I saw is 170 total - 124 sworn and 46 civilian which includes dispatchers, clerical support and parking/community enforcement officers. Patrol numbers are deceptive. The difference between current staffing and staffing ten years ago is the number of specialized units - footbeat officers, housing officers, community policing like DARE in the schools, etc.. All of those were filled with sworn officers who were available for patrol support when needed. Now there's nothing left to fall back on. The detectives and their supervisors (who usually carried some case load) have been reduced by almost a third, so less crime is being investigated. The command structure has been greatly reduced as the overall size of the department has been reduced. The captain rank was dissolved. The mid-managment lieutenant and sergeant ranks have been cut in almost half. There were times during the Clinton years where AAPD was flush with grant money, and there were people bumping into each other with not enough to do. That's definitely not the case anymore.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 4:36 p.m.

Absolutly agree Macabre, and all these fall in to "maybe" & "might" catagories which can drive you batty thinking about and can never be proven. Maybe the laptop theif is not a career criminal and a dumb kid, and maybe the minivan driver is drunk. Or maybe the minivan driver is just a horrible driver and hits a bicyclist killing them. Who knows? Then isn't stopping this one driver who may be drunk more important than getting a laptap stolen? These are all just guesses or examples. Is the number 1 thing just lowering the crime rate figure itself? If it's just a stat, then everyone lock your doors and the crime rate would go down 50%.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 4:28 p.m.

Who needs cops anyways? We should just go back to the days where everyone was a gun slinger and shot each other over cheating at poker. Besides if everyone carries a weapon then shouldn't crime go down?


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 4:23 p.m. wonder there is a $10,000,000 surplus in the City's "Fleets" fund....200,000 windshield wipers have been replaced. Brutal Michigan winters I guess.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 4:18 p.m.

On the other hand, Lokalisierung, incarcerating one career criminal breaking into homes and stealing laptops has a large impact on the crime rate. Giving a ticket to one slightly-stupid minivan driver out of thousands on the roads at any given moment is unlikely to have any impact on public safety.

David Cahill

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 3:59 p.m.

Fifty dollars for a windshield wiper! Sounds like the fantasy Municipal Service Charge has struck again....


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 2:44 p.m.

I remain supportive of AAPD and AAFD, both outstanding departments that have been cut enough. Lets see some numbers from other city departments. It's not appropriate to use Ms. Lesko's statement that there were only two UMPD cars on the road without further documentation. Two is well below the minimum staffing level. If there were two, it perhaps was due to some temporary reason, i.e., perhaps two cars were in training. Eyehearts complaint of UM cars doing traffic control is of questionable merit. Perhaps he received a ticket there? Or perhaps they monitor those areas because citizens call and complain about people disregarding traffic control devices. Police are supposed to respond to complaints and if they focus on an area that may be why. In re to AAPD staffing, seven is far too few. Often officers are off the road after an arrest, processing the prisoner and completing paperwork, or for any of many reasons. A real issue arises if two or three officers make arrests during the same period. So with 7 cars on the road, you could easily be down to 3. 162 officers seems like a lot. I would like to see, in stories like this, a breakdown in staffing, how many command officers, Dep Chfs, Lts, Sgts., etc. Is AAPD top heavy? I do not think they are but the numbers might be of interest. Also scheduling can assist in staffing. Several years ago, 12 hour shifts became very popular in many area departments. You have four groups of officers, two for days and two for nights. The shifts might be 6a to 6p and 6p to 6a. When one day/night shift is on duty, the other two are off. Usually no one worked more than 3 days in a row, every other weekend was a three day, maybe four day weekend. This schedule has good and bad points: days off change each week, the shifts are long and there are some other problems to be resolved. But for staffing, say you have 100 officers. With this schedule, you can have 25 on each shift, enough for coverage, enough to cover sick days and vacation days for quite a few on each shift, eliminating a need to pay overtime to fill in absences. Do more with less? Maybe. Usually officers loved it or hated it, most I knew were the former. I am not promoting this an an answer here, just as an example that numbers can be adjusted in various ways for coverage. Also, crime stats up and down? Pay no attention to anyone who used crime stats as proof of safety or crime rates. They are misleading. Lower stats may be due to less officers on the road. Good police officers find crimes on their own which drives crime rates up. People who wait too long for an officer might leave and when an officer does arrive, no report is done since the person left. If people think police response takes to long, they may not report some crimes. Stats can easily be misleading. With more officers you should expect crime rates to go up. Lower stats do not necessarily mean a city is safer. Same with higher stats. Expect crime rates to increase because of the governor's quest to empty the prisons. Saves state dollars, yours get stolen. Nothing to do with police staffing. Those intersections Eyeheart mentions are not more dangerous because more tickets are being written. More violators are being caught, stats go up. It has nothing to do with overall safety of the intersection. Oops, this got too long, sorry.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 2:34 p.m.

All city expenditures need to be detailed and posted on line. Without detailed information, it is difficult to determine waste or be supportive of budget decisions. We need more transparency in this regard.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 2:28 p.m.

Momentary irony: As I view this thread, a banner ad above states: "Our criminal justice degrees prepare you for the toughest place anywhere... the job market... Kaplan University..." Little do they know...


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 2:02 p.m.

"It's no wonder they sit on abandoned roads, watching for minivans rolling through 3-way stop signs. What's the point of trying to protect the public safety when no one will back them up?" Just to present a different view is that minivans rolling through stop signs probably injures/kill more people and costs people more money than these criminals snatching laptops. That is a guess i'm making though. @ Patricia Lesko "U of M has 55 sworn officers to patrol 3000 acres of land their own and 350 buildings." Kind of apples and oranges IMO opinion comparing UofM to the city. If only they were funded the same way then Nike would pay for the water sculpture and everyone wouldn't have to complain about it. "Main Street merchants whom I spoke with today all said crime is up (shoplifting), and that they attribute it to the lost Main Street patrols." I'd call that folly right there. If I'm a shoplifter (as I have done in my younger days) cops on the beat don't worry me. Getting out of the store does. Everyone is down money right now & unemployed, of makes sense shoplifting would go up.

Patricia Lesko

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 1:51 p.m.

@Packman, U of M has 55 sworn officers to patrol 3000 acres of land their own and 350 buildings. If the current budget is approved as is, Ann Arbor will have 87 sworn officers to patrol 17,700 acres of city land, and respond to calls from 90,000 adult residents and 45,000 residences. Main Street merchants whom I spoke with today all said crime is up (shoplifting), and that they attribute it to the lost Main Street patrols. How many officers are enough? That's a a good question. How long do you want to wait when you call the police? Is an hour too long for a non-emergency call? Police and fire are preventative medicine, insurance policies. You don't need them until you do, and then you want them, and you want the best service you can possible pay for. What would we do with a dog catcher, or an officer to investigate domestic violence? That's obvious. More officers on patrol? More police presence in high crime areas, such as student neighborhoods in and around Burns Park. I went down a street in that area and the officer told me every single one of the houses had been broken into. We are being sold on the decimation of our safety services by being sung the bedtime song "crime is down." Breathing is good. The sun is warm. Simplistic statements such as those referenced above and made by Messers Fraser and Rapundalo make for good political rhetoric, and disguise horrible public policy. I'm not a politician; I'm a CEO and business person. It's why I did a ride along, and asked about the specific numbers of officers on patrol over time. Our current Mayor hasn't done a ride along in a decade in office; neither has Mr. Fraser. I wonder if Mr. Rapundalo ever has.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 1:48 p.m.

Police and fire staffing levels naturally increase when times are good, but when recession hits people aren't able to stomach cuts. The people who we pay to protect us then try to scare us into not laying them off, in effect holding us hostage. Get over it. They have to do more with less, just like every other city service or private business. We don't know how many police we actually need. Cut fire and police until it's a problem, then staff up from there. Fortunately, crime prevention is more about the citizens than it is about the police being visible all the time. I'd be interested to know how many crimes they stop in-progress as opposed to arresting people after the fact. I can probably count the number of times I've seen the police drive by on my fingers over the last 10 years. I'd rather _not_ see them in my neighborhood as long as they can come when there's something actually happening. I don't think it's entirely reasonable to expect them to show up 2 minutes after I report some petty crime there's no hope of solving. It's fine if they're forced to prioritize.

Macabre Sunset

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 1:47 p.m.

Perhaps the police who patrol are focused on stop signs because they know that even if they do their jobs and catch a criminal, the system stands behind the criminals instead. Judges refuse to honor sentencing guidelines. Prosecutors allow violent, dangerous career criminals to plea down to misdemeanors. And, if somehow, a criminal winds up behind bars, parole boards and judges let predators out as soon as humanly possible. Meanwhile, criminals have learned that resisting arrest is profitable, so police are under tremendous pressure not to act in dangerous situations. It's no wonder they sit on abandoned roads, watching for minivans rolling through 3-way stop signs. What's the point of trying to protect the public safety when no one will back them up?


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 1:40 p.m.

@Rusty, While I don't condone bragging, the relevance is that some of us believe that we are always the first responders to any critical incidents involving us. Also that we are always responsible for our own safety. The authorities can't be everywhere we are to safeguard us all of the time nor are they legally obligated to. That being said, the number of police actively on patrol at any one time affects our actual safety less than your sense of safety. Hope that helps.

Jess Rodriguez Acevedo

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 1:21 p.m.

Es verdad que la policia de Ann Arbor detienen a inmigrantes? Este no apoyo.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 1:20 p.m.

braggslaw: Glad you feel safe... The majority of those needing police services need non-weaponized help... Those needing weaponized-help usually prefer calling the police...


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 1:01 p.m.

I have a 9mm pistol and a concealed weapons permit. I feel very safe in Ann Arbor. It does not matter whether there are more or less cops.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 12:08 p.m.

"If the patrol number is the same as a few years ago, what were all the other now-displaced officers doing that is no longer being done?" I'd like to know that also. Is the number of "units" on the street the in same number of cars but maybe there's only 1 in the car instead of 2? Are there less detectives working those hours that are not "patroling" the streets? Less police manning the counter at the station? Rarely do I comment on the way articles are wrtiten on here but I do come here for my news....not as a starting point to do my own research.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 11:59 a.m.

If the patrol number is the same as a few years ago, what were all the other now-displaced officers doing that is no longer being done?


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 11:42 a.m.

This one is hard without any real facts behind anything which is uauslly the way it happens with these stories. Are 6 or 7 enough...I don't know because i haven't been told how many there were 10 years ago. Knee jerk reactions make you think it isn't enough...but if it's basically the same amount as a couple years ago, than what's the differnece? Of course someone just said it was basically the same and there's no numbers or facts to back that up so (that I can see) so I don't know.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 11:40 a.m.

How many cops is enough? We can all pluck numbers out of the air but how about doing some benchmarking with similar cities? How many cops per 1,000 citizens does Madison have? Flint? Let's try using facts instead of opinions. And to those who would like to see greater use of volunteers - Neighbor Watch is a great scheme, but those who want to play at being cops scare the hell out me.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 11:12 a.m.

Get a cpl (ccw) and protect yourself.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 9:47 a.m.

sure! shut the Delonis shelter and it ought to be plenty.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 9:35 a.m.

Too many chiefs and support staff in the Police Department. Too few Indians. I have no problem cutting the budgets. That does not mean it has to be a reduction in officers. If the union does not want to adjust the benefits and pay structure, then come contract time, double the cuts that would have be appropriate right now. Those who don't like the cuts can leave. Plenty will be there to take their place.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 9:32 a.m.

@ Freemind, With all due respect, your comments indicate a less than open one. How did we get from concerned citizens willing to work with and for public safety to armed paramilitary units? Obviously tying into the previous militia and anti government comment. Police are reactive not proactive. That citizens may be willing to put their own safety on the line for others such as you, for little to no compensation is to be lauded and do not deserve such comments. Don't like the problems? Well we can sit at our keyboards and complain about it, or we can get up and put more than our opinions on the line. That is what makes a safer city, those who are willing and concerned enough to step up and watch out for others.

Eric P

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 9:24 a.m.

Forget volunteers A group of reserve officers, as you find in many places around the country, could help out with the staffing issue. Reserve officers are often young people who are working their way towards a law enforcement career, and basically work as part time officers. Reserves are also a way for a department to develop new full time staff and identify those who are not going to make it as officers.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 9:15 a.m.

@Ryan, Jack Eaton, Pat Lesko and others who have complained and/or asked me to vote. How would I know what to vote on? I don't think anyone has asked the right question yet? How many officers are normally on patrol? How many are required? Is the requirement constant or are there variables that determine force levels required. Is 6 enough or is 20 too many? How could I know how many is enough? Get real and identify the problem folks.

David Cahill

Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 9:04 a.m.

Er, that was Roger Fraser being quoted, not Sabra Briere.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 8:34 a.m.

volunteers are not a reliable source for public safety. Plus, as we learned last week, paramilitary units are the LAST thing we need more of in this area.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 8:32 a.m.

For the cost of one full-time officer, the department could train and equip 20 volunteers to do the grunt work of the force. There are volunteers out there.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 8:30 a.m.

People, don't for one minute forget Roger Fraser lives in Scio Twp!Ann Arbor P.D. is due for an attitude adjustment!


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 8:16 a.m.

Well, for all those "The evil gummit is watching me" folks, this is exactly what you want right? Less government? Because if you don't want taxes you won't get police. It's as simple as that.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 8:14 a.m.

How many people work on the City's website? It sure is nice. How many people work in Planning, working for years to help people devise projects that meet code, but then are kiboshed by council? How much time does the mayor spend on folly fountains and folly trolleys? How much time does the City spend devising frivolous legal positions, and defending against legitimate lawsuits? How much time does finance spend devising money-hiding buckets to make the City look broke? Don't call the police to investigate. There will be no response due to understaffing of essential City service. How many police are needed on patrol at a given time? As always, it depends on whether or not it's YOU that needs help.


Fri, Apr 9, 2010 : 7:33 a.m.

I don't believe the number of FTE in police dept is 162, you may want to check that figure. More like 124. Every year it's the same ole song and dance from the City, threats, threats and scare tactics to the AAPD, FD and the residents of AA, rather sickening.... Council person Sabra, I don't think you'll EVER find an AAPD officer say they had a boring day with nothing to do.....shame on you. Clearly you need to ride along and get a taste of reality. Quit making excuses and trying to justify your push to elimate positions in the PD and FD. Your job is to run this city effectively along with Fraser. Quit pilering the cities' money away on useless projects/art and focus on BASIC sevices and the crumbling infrastrucure in AA. When more prosperous times return, then revisit using AA's money for your pet projects and art.