Ordinance enforcement sought

Published 11:19 pm Thursday, August 30, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Howard Township is looking for ways to add a police officer to its roadways.
On Wednesday, Township Supervisor Michael Sutherland said this decision is not being made because of a lack of law enforcement coverage. Instead the township needs an officer to be able to enforce the township ordinances.
"Right now, we have officers from Cass County and the Michigan State Police patrolling the streets and providing assistance, they just can't enforce our ordinances. We've had problems with noise and speeding and we need someone here who can take care of that," Sutherland explained.
For example, if an officer is called because of a noise ordinance, they cannot issue a citation. If Howard Township had an actual officer, they could issue citations.
"We're really just looking at our options right now. We really want someone in here part time, but we'll see what happens," Sutherland said.
He also added that Niles City Police Chief Ric Huff presented ideas for a full-time officer. In order to approve this, Huff must present the idea to the Niles City Council.
Sutherland said the township has also talked with the Tribal Police and has received an application from an individual for a part-time position.
"We had a millage that went before the people last year about this and it was soundly defeated. It's obvious the people of Howard Township didn't want to pay for that, so we are trying to figure out what we can do, because we can't go without someone here to enforce the ordinances," Sutherland added.
"This started about 90 days ago. Howard Township officials went to Chief Huff and told him what they were looking for. It's all just in the negotiating process right now and Huff is actually preparing a report to present to the council," Niles city Administrator Terry Eull said.
The township has been without an actual police car since March, after ending its police contract with the Cass County Sheriff's Department.
"We have to do something and right now we will continue to look at our options and see what is available," Sutherland added.