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Posted on Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 6 a.m.

Ypsilanti, Ypsilanti Township agree to further explore a joint police department

By Tom Perkins

The City of Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township took the first significant step Monday toward forming a new police authority to serve the two municipalities.

The Ypsilanti City Council and Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees met for a joint session to hear an initial report on the idea's feasibility. Each governing body will vote on seeking a proposal for a third party study of the idea at their respective Sept. 21 meetings.

Both municipalities have made cuts in public safety this year. 

Ypsilanti Township contracts through the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department for police service and was forced to contract for seven fewer deputies after a millage failed last November.

Schreiber_Stumbo 2.jpg

The Ypsilanti City Council and Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees met for a joint session to discuss forming a new policing authority.

Tom Perkins | For

The township now has 31 deputies, down from a peak of 44 several years ago. It stands to lose two more positions if a millage being decided by voters next month fails. The township has been hit hard by the loss of its industrial tax base and the highest foreclosure rate in Washtenaw County.

Concurrently, the cost of one sheriff's "police service unit" has risen more than 90 percent from roughly $83,000 to $161,000 per PSU in a seven-year period.

Ypsilanti cut 2.5 police positions from its department this year and could be forced to make more significant cuts in the 2012 fiscal year.

The Police Services Committee — comprised of Ypsilanti city attorneys Karl and John Barr, City Manager Ed Koryzno, Police Chief Amy Walker, Ypsilanti Township Director of Police Services Mike Radzik, Trustee Stan Eldridge, Treasurer Larry Doe, township attorney Doug Winters and assistant attorney Angela King — has met monthly since March to look for any obvious legal, financial or structural obstacles to the process.

Finding nothing that would “preempt” a discussion, Eldridge said the municipalities should move forward. He called the city a “natural partner” since the township’s boundaries encircle the city.

Koryzno said he felt the conversation was worth having when the township approached him with the idea early this year. He said his three concerns were sustainability, accountability and commonality.

Given the dire financial situation of both municipalities, all options must be explored, Koryzno said. He praised the Ypsilanti Police Department and said city officials are satisfied with how it is managed and accountable directly to City Council.

“It’s a well-respected, professional, well-trained department … and we want to continue to have our own department,” he said. “We do not wish to contract out for services at this time because when all it is all said and done, a new department would still be held accountable to elected officials.”

Koryzno said Ypsilanti and Ypsilanti Township have more in common than the seven municipalities that were part of a similar study in 2007.

Should the township board and city council approve seeking an independent third party to conduct the study, Koryzno said it would make most sense to first request a proposal from the author of the 2007 study. Among the benefits in doing so are that he is familiar with the situation and wouldn't need to recollect information already gathered on Ypsilanti, Koryzno said.


Ypsilanti Police Chief Amy Walker was lauded for taking a lead in the discussions.

Tom Perkins | For

Eldridge listed several issues the township has with Sheriff's Department — most significantly a lack of involvement in controlling the price of a deputy. He also said the township has little involvement in police philosophy, hiring, deployment and receiving information in a timely manner.

“Our ability to have oversight is minimal to none, and that has been a leading factor in bringing us here today,” he said.

Koryzno said the city isn't interested in contracting with the county, and Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber said it isn't in the city's best interest to have the township contract with it for police services. If the township decided it no longer wanted to contract for services, the city would be stuck with police infrastructure it couldn’t use, he said.

An authority is a separate governmental entity with a board to which the police chief would report. Schreiber said the drawback of an authority is that they are difficult to dissolve and require a much stronger commitment — but it's still the best of the three options.

Though few details were provided on what a new authority would look like or how it could work, officials from both sides praised Walker and said they'd like her to stay in charge of whatever type of agency is formed.

Roughly 50 residents showed up for the meeting at the Ypsilanti Township Hall. Those who spoke during public comment asked questions and generally expressed support for the idea.

Ypsilanti Township resident Cheryl Blackburn said she's employed in Ypsilanti, and her contacts with the police force have all been positive. With the state of the economy, she said, the municipalities need to explore their options.

"We are all family, and I think we need to blend together," she said.

Ypsilanti resident Lee Tooson called the study a "positive" development.

"This is a win-win situation for both sides," he said. "We don’t want to lose public safety. We want everybody in our city and everybody in our township to be safe."

Tom Perkins is a freelance writer for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.



Thu, Oct 14, 2010 : 2:21 p.m.

Ok. So... let's run this to its natural conclusion. The city of Ypsilanti patrols the streets of the Township. It works well, and the city earns money while the township saves money, and maybe crime goes down. Then, a joint fire committee is proposed. We already have mutual aid, so working more closely makes sense. That works well, and maybe the city and township earn and save a few dollars. Maybe we should look into combining our water util- oh. Any way, maybe in fifty years, we'll finally get around to marrying the municipalities after decades of living together. After all, we don't want to box ourselves in to a bad match, now...


Fri, Oct 1, 2010 : 10:22 p.m.

I would like to thank the township officials and Mclain and Winters law firm for a job well done. Everyday when I drive through the township I am reminded of all of the wonderful projects this board has accomplished. Paved roads, vacant buildings torn down, less blight and my favorite the shopping center on Whittaker road. I am very proud to live in the township and proud of you. I am happy you are considering joining the city for police protection. It would improve responce time and I'm selfish as it would be nice to have officers here in the township rather than all over the county. We have had success with the YCUA board for years. I'm sure this venture would be just as succesful.


Thu, Sep 16, 2010 : 9:43 p.m.

I'm an active voter in the township and I concur with Ruth Ann that the current slate of township officials promised to avoid entanglements with the economically challenged city. It makes no sense at all to latch on to a sinking ship. They are now investigating whether to have a joint police force with the city AND continue to pay for county sheriffs. It will cost us more now and cost us dearly when the city goes into receivership. If they continue on this path they should all be recalled. They were elected to look out for the interests of the township residents.

Lonnie Scott

Wed, Sep 15, 2010 : 1:10 p.m.

I think what people are missing here is that even if Ypsilanti Township and Ypsilanti created a new regional police force, residents of Ypsilanti Township (as residents of the County) will still pay for the Sheriff's office as it is a Constitutional office in the State of Michigan. We will just also be paying a new regional authority, and while I will wait to see the numbers I highly doubt it will be cheaper that what we currently spend on police services. If the issue is having input in the services provided by the Sheriff's department then we should be holding meetings about that with the Sheriff's office and making our voices heard. I have never personally had a bad experience with a Deputy so until reading it here I was unaware some were having issues, I believe these things need to be addressed. However, a new regional authority doesn't necessarily solve these problems. it does however create a new level of bureaucracy to contend with. What happens if in 5 years Ypsilanti or the Township decide they no longer like this agreement? These are details that need to be discussed. Times are tough for everyone, but if the numbers from these stories are correct we have been charged less per deputy than the surrounding communities for a long time. Even with a large increase as has been proposed we will still be paying less for these services than others in Washtenaw County. I know there are some who say that just because they are "expensive" everywhere doesn't mean we are getting a deal, but honestly, Police Services (along with Fire, EMS, etc.) are things I am happy to pay my fair share for. I applaud Ypsilanti Township and the City for having discussions about sharing services, but I am cautious to support a plan for police services when, in my opinion, it is a further duplication of services we currently and will continue to pay for. In these situations you generally only save money if you are able to "close" an office or "centralize" a service and in this case that can't happen, we will always have a Sheriff's office unless there is a constitutional change. I hope that the Township and the City will continue to have conversations about further collaboration of services, but I encourage everyone to study the details of this plan carefully before supporting it out of hand. In the end it is us who will be paying the bill.


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 11:20 p.m.

"He also said the township has little involvement in police philosophy, hiring, deployment and receiving information in a timely manner." Now you really got me researching...check this article on involvement. Apparently the township does have some say in Sheriff business. From Nov. 4, 2009 Article on millage losing last time around.... Ypsilanti Township officials say the impact of a failed police millage Tuesday wont be immediately known, but residents can expect to see slower response times to certain calls and less community-oriented policing. Township officials plan to meet with administrators from the Washtenaw County Sheriffs Department next week discuss a new staffing plan. They say its likely the township will be forced to reduce the staffing level from 38 to 28 deputies in 2010. Full article:


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 9:40 p.m.

truthbtold I am not trying to knock the township attorny. He is only doing what he is told and he gets paid by the township. I'm sure he is a very good atty. So help educate us taxpayers. How much has the township attorny made in 2009? Does the township owe the county money for lawsuits they didnt win? If so how much did they pay or owe? Please make us taxpayers smarter. So if the township is paying $161,000 for each deputy and Ann Arbor is paying $366,000 for each of their officer on the street, it sounds like the township is saving $200,000 per cop. So then lets compare it to Ypsilanti city at $242,000 (all my numbers come from the Tom Perkins article) that means the township is saving $80,000 for each cop. So lets take this a step further. If the township pays the same price as Ypsilanti city for the 31 officers then it would cost an additional $2.5 mill per year to have 31 officers, which supposedly isn't enough.

Mr. Ed

Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 8:52 p.m.

truthbe told So dedicated they are willing to spend our last dime on there failed agenda. We can't expect the County to keep give us resources for below cost.


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 8:41 p.m.

When I read some of the negative comments made about our Township Officials and Township Attorney, I am amazed by the true lack of knowledge. Our community is fortunate to have a fiscally conservative Township Board, otherwise we would be in the same dire condition as many communites in Michigan.We shoud be appreciative! And as far as the County lawsuit.. Obviously, they are not aware Ypsilanti Township taxpayers pay Washtenaw County about $161,000 per deputy and in 2011, that amount will increase by 4%. Attorney Winters has fought, though very tough negotiations with the County to try to keep cost down and yet the County wants more. He has earned every dollar he's recevied and should be commended. In these economic hard times negative comments don't help anyone. Ypsilanti Township is luckly to have elected officials dedicated to the residents of our community.

Ruth Ann Jamnick

Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 8:34 p.m.

Just a few thoughts about last night's Ypsilanti City/Township meeting to consider a police services authority. During my Supervisor term 2004/08, the Township Board was requested on 3 different occasions to allow the Township's participation with a group of other communities (including the City) reviewing the possibility of an eastern Washtenaw police services consortium. Each time 5 members of the Board said NO, (interesting that 5 of the 7 members remain on the Board today). Rather than participate, the Board created a police services work group. Trustee Ostrowski was the Chair with Trustee Eldridge and myself. We were supported by Mr. Radzik with assistance from McLain & Winters and Township Auditor as needed. What happened to our report back to the Board? It was referred to Mr. Winters and never heard about again during our term. Because it was extensive, it is quite likely that information was updated and used by the City and Township in their work since March 2010. I am not certain of the exact comment, but in essence it was stated last night that the efforts of those communities wasn't a viable option. There was not much discussion about the "why it wasn't viable"... but at the time I was told, it was because Ypsilanti Township's participation was needed to make it viable. What is my point? I have 3...Ypsilanti Township would have been further down the road to making a decision, truly in the best interest of its residents/taxpayers, had those 5 Board members allowed our participation at that time, spent our tax dollars more wisely and had resolved this long time issue a lot sooner. They were asked, if they didn't want me to participate, to at least let Mr. Radzik participate on our behalf. As it was, he was quite helpful to those communities with their efforts. So why am I commenting? This was my first time attending a meeting since leaving in November 2008 and am interested in what can be accomplished. Unfortunately, what I experienced was the same old "stuff". #1... First the meeting was scheduled for 7 PM and both bodies would then have their usual Board and Council meetings. Driving past the Township offices just after 5 PM, I noticed a lot of cars in the parking lot. Checking after getting home, I learned the meeting was at 5:30 PM. In today's world, realistically how many people are able to attend such an important meeting at 5:30 PM? My understanding of the meeting being at 7:00 PM was confirmed when a well known and active resident, who received the same meeting information for 7:00 PM arrived after the meeting had ended and almost everyone had left the Township offices. This resident was not very pleased. #2.. 50 people attending is a fair number, but to be able to recognize just about everyone who spoke or at least their name, it appeared again to be Ypsilanti Township politics usual... a choreographed meeting. One person attending the meeting shared with me that they had received a call from Supervisor Stumbo supposedly about something else, but just happened to remind them about the meeting. There were many people who attended and did not speak. It is safe to assume, they were there to listen and I thank them for taking their time to be present. #3... This was to be a meeting to learn the public's thoughts/opinions on a joint police services venture between the 2 communities. I have long agreed we needed to be better and cooperative neighbors and working together. However, that has never been the feelings of the 5 Board Members who continue to serve, as well as legal counsel. Remember their big red signs at the polls in 2004 and again in 2008, they said "No No Never With the City of Ypsilanti" and often repeated by Supervisor Stumbo, "there would be never be joint ventures, consolidation, etc because the City was a weak partner and there is never a merger when one of the partners is weak". More importantly, Supervisor Stumbo on another occasion commented, that it would never happen "because she couldn't get elected if both communities merged". Mr. Ostrowski and I have talked several times, that while our former colleagues didn't allow us to accomplish much, we must have had some positive input because 2 or 3 of the efforts we supported and they did not or kept delaying a decision, they have found valuable and accomplished then since our leaving in November 2008. We thought they were, and it is good to know they truly were good things for our Township... better late than never my Dad used to say to my sisters and me. I will close with this... My experience with this old "ypsi-tucky politics" began in 1960 and I sincerely agree with the many who have been saying, it is time for that to come to an end. I fully expect to see my comments challenged by others who will say, this is "sour grapes" on my part. To my defense, I have said many times throughout my extensive career at various levels in public service that if you can win an election, you can lose an election as well as I trust our voters to do the right thing. It was difficult to leave, but in the long run, the voters did me a favor. I am a stronger and better person because of my serving this community including the most difficult 4 years of my entire life. There were still lessons for me to learn in this last, almost 2 years. I am grateful for the opportunities and experiences you have allowed me to have while serving all of you. I encourage the residents of the City and Township to challenge what we are about to learn through this current effort on police services... if our input is sincerely desired, it is our responsibility to be informed and provide that input. We will be the ones who fund whatever result is determined.


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 7:37 p.m.

Why is it that it is just Stumpo and ypsilanti twp that continues to have problems. 1st it was losing lawsuit after losing lawsuit after losing lawsuit against the county that wracked up millions in twp costs. I think they couldnt do anymore lawsuits so now Stumpo wants to take her ball and not play with the county. My guess is someone recently asked Ypsi to pay the county lawsuit bill. The only one that won was the twp attorney. Im not aware of any other twp that experiences the same problems. Why is that.

Mr. Ed

Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 7:18 p.m.

Af3201 What is going to happen is this. The City and Twp will form a Metro police Department, no union low pay. The city union and police are going away. The pay and benefits will be low. The new Metro Police will be a training dept and a stepping stone with young cops coming and going. So the service is going to get worse. The Sheriff is elected so if he's not doing his job we vote for one that will. I don't trust Ypsilanti Twp government having control over the police. The Sheriff is required to provide police services to the residents of WC. Walker is a pawn being used to send a message and she to will get a bad deal in the end. Look what the City did to her when she was promoted to top dog. What we need in the Michigan National Guard as our police.


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 6:33 p.m.

Mr. Ed, I agree with many of your points. I disagree that the WCSD is the best option just because they provide "police" services at the lowest cost. Cheapest is not always the best. I agree with you that Brenda Stumbo needs to go as well as many of those on the board that have been in office for years (and years and years!!). Mike Radzik needs to go. Why not give Amy Walker a chance? She is doing an excellent job as the Chief for the city. Why not an "area" police department. My concerns with the Sheriffs department are not so much with the curent Sheriff who I believe is trying but moreso with the poor attitudes at the Metro/County dispatch center as well as the deputies who have a poor attitude toward constituents. Have you ever had to call them for help? From rudeness on the phone from the dispatcher to deputies who show up and treat you like you did something wrong by calling for help. I have spoken directly with their command and the Sheriff staff about these problems. My neighbors have also. It is well documented that for years residents of Ypsilanti Twp have complained about these very issues. The prior administrations simply did not care. Sheriff Clayton has turned some things around. Why not have our own department that is directly accountable to our elected officials? Crime is high in the township and we need a new approach to problems that have existed too long. The Sheriff is only mandated by law to provide a jail and a dog catcher. Ypsilanti Township residents need to begin to pay their share if they want a great police department. I applaud the efforts to bring about some positive changes. I wont, however, be supporting a millage increase if that means we keep the same poor service we have now.

Mr. Ed

Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 5:53 p.m.

Af2101 You are right about the service we deserve better. Who's at fault we are and our elected officials are at fault. If you read the story I attached it appears Ypsilanti Twp has plenty of input regarding the services. If the service was not delivered then it would appear Radzik dropped the ball for not holding the Sheriff's Office accountable. The model provided is what Ypsilanti Twp can afford. I don't think we can blame the Sheriff's Office for Ypsilanti twp elected officials not managing the money and the police budget in the best interest of the members they serve. We need leaders in Ypsilanti Twp. Lovejoy was a County Commissioner and now shes back in the Twp as a clerk. We need fresh experience leading the Twp. If I end up paying more money for less service then I see a recall across the board in Ypsilanti Twp. We need to work with the Sheriff and develop a plan we all can live with. I'm so tired of Stumbo and her politics. She really needs to go. I'm concerned about some of the policy makers on the police panel. If I recall one person left police work because he was under investigation for sick time abuse, now he is making policy on who will be our police. This stinks all the way around. We need to get serious about this issue. 92.00 bucks a year is what we pay for police services per year per resident. I would pay double that for solving the real issue and that is crime that effects our life's and the perception of safety in our communities. It's not the Sheriff that is holding back services it's the Twp. Stop increasing Winter's budget and put the money towards police.

Mr. Ed

Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 5:23 p.m.

If the twp sets the number of deputies working the streets based on what they can afford. How can it be done for less cost if the county is the lowest cost per police in the County. If you want to reduce crime you need a real number of cops working the streets. It would suggest that 31 deputies working the streets is not enough in Ypsilanti Twp. I bet the price will increase per resident when they do what ever they plan to do. You will have all the over head when you do your own police, Chief, Capt, Lt, Sgt. Detectives, clerks, property officers, equipment, maintenance of vehicles and liability insurance. With all the over head I don't see where it would save Ypsilanti Twp any money. If Ypsilanti City were to contract with the Sheriff's Office they could save 1.5 million right now (Fact). Maybe Ypsilanti Twp plans to suck the little life from Ypsilanti City has left. The fact is Ypsilanti Twp is upset over the loss law suit so they are going to punish the residents more with changing the method on how they do police services. Police services has never been a priority of the elected officials in Ypsilanti Twp. Ten million bucks gone what a wast of tax payer money. You need at least 80 deputies to patrol the community and be effective. But that will never happen because the community and elected officials will never pay and do what is right.It would appear that Ypsilanti Twp has set the deputies up for failure with only 31 deputies working the streets, what a disservice to the residents. Have we heard from the deputies on this subject. It would appear the deputies are in the middle of Stumbo's chess game with the County. My thoughts on this subject.


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 3:37 p.m.

"Great idea!! Now, let's get it done. We dont need study after study and months and months of debating this" You are willing to move forward without knowing any facts? Great policy making that is. Here is another good article that Tom wrote that I just read now that I'm very interested in this topic. -Lowest cost per officer in the county, we have the best deal in Ypsi twp...Financially that is. -Fewest number of officers per 1,000 in the county, we have a raw deal on the number of officers patrolling our streets. Can we please have an honest dialogue about policy and not a political back and forth for once? Tom, I hope you continue to put out facts...keep it up.


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 12:54 p.m.

Great idea!! Now, let's get it done. We dont need study after study and months and months of debating this. Township residents are no longer interested in approving millages to fund the Sheriffs department. Mr. Eldridge said it best when he stated that the township has no input into policing philosophy with what currently exists. The Sheriffs Department simply is not accountable enough. Ypsilanti Township residents deserve and demand BETTER police services from the time we call to the time it takes to get an officer on scene. The current model that the WCSD has provided failed a long time ago and continues to fail. Sheriff Clayton has tried to turn things around but sadly the same poor attitude toward township residents still exists. Ypsilanti City police department is an excellent provider of police services and will certainly lead the way to a much better Ypsilanti Area Police Department.

Mr. Ed

Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 11:52 a.m.

I found this story here is the link. It appears as if Ypsilanti twp has a lot of say in how policying is done in the twp. Read the story very interesting.'+concerns+about+safety-article-1953.html


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 10:58 a.m.

I too think this is a good conversation to have. We have to explore ALL options as a community. I do hope however that this is not politics as usual and that we will see those making this decsion focus on good policy. At first glance this is a great idea, but not at the expense that it might cost as a tax payer or in creating more redundancy than we already have. We do already have a policing authority its constitutionally called the Sheriff's Office. Now the question becomes is that an option?


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 9:46 a.m.

Residents of the city of Ypsilanti pay the entire cost of their police department, despite their economic troubles (as does Ann Arbor). Ypsilanti Township does not, and keeps maneuvering to stick the rest of the county with the tab (including a costly unsuccessful law suit). There is not going to be a solution until the Township (with its high crime rate) accepts that the free lunch is running out.


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 9:08 a.m.

This is not only a step in the right direction,it's very much needed for the safety of our community and any help with the ladies of the night would be great as well.The ladies of the night are now walking the streets in broad day light.This is a big problem for Michigan Ave.and people are getting feed up with the problem.HELP is needed!!!!


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 7:52 a.m.

The first thing the township should do before this turns into a debacle is have a different legal representative at the meetings. Winters' track record makes it perfectly clear that he has no idea what he is doing in this regard, other than racking up billable hours. If the township and the city really want this effort to succeed, than they need to proceed with the best minds available. Ypsilanti Township's legal battles with the County and the results display that currently this is not the case.


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 7:08 a.m.

Well done, Ypsi city and township. I applaud the leaders of these two communities for talking common sense, looking long-term, and thinking of practical ways to work better together. I don't think any of them yet realize the full value such a joint regional relationship - whether by contract or an authority - will bring to their respective communities. Ypsi township needs to pursue this regardless of whether their millage passes or fails, but I suspect voters will be more receptive to the millage in this light.


Tue, Sep 14, 2010 : 5:09 a.m.

Great information, Mr Perkins. Thanks! It's encouraging to see Ypsi City and Township working together, even if it has taken decades and economic disaster to create cooperation! I do hope they do not "study this to death" and it happens soon.