Staff of 17 at Niles State Police Post finds time to serve warrants

Published 9:10 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - It may be a while before Michigan sees a new wave of state trooper recruits.
The newest proposed fiscal budget for 2007 from Gov. Jennifer Granholm does not include adding more recruits to the 1,050 troopers and sergeants already patrolling the roads.
For First Lt. Mike Brown of the Niles State Police Post, the news created little concern.
In fact, Brown said the Niles post has a large enough staff to cover the required shifts and give the troopers a chance to train on temporary assignments.
Some of the added opportunities include working with a specialized narcotics unit in South Haven and a fugitive team in Kalamazoo, where Brown said the troopers receive “a lot of experience in a short period of time.”
Locally, Brown's staff of 17 troopers, four sergeants, one dispatcher and one administrative aid have shortened the list of warrants that needed to be served in the Niles area.
Brown said having an adequate staff at the Niles post has allowed the force to serve 150 out of about 550 past warrants while simultaneously taking care of current cases.
In the two years Brown has been at the Niles post he said a pair of troopers have been added to the force. One graduated from the academy in December of 2004 and is now full time. The other came in as a transfer in 2005, Brown said.
The number of troopers stationed at the Niles post has fluctuated in the past, Brown said. The force has topped out at around 22 troopers and has fallen to as low as 10, he added. But, in the last five years the size of the staff has remained relatively unchanged.
In both 2000 and 2002, the Niles post employed 19 troopers, Brown said. Some of the changes are a result of promotions, Brown said.
Each post has an optimal number of troopers they would like to see on staff based on the amount of complaints and activity in the area, Brown said.
The Niles post would have around 23 troopers “in a perfect world,” Brown said.