Silver Creek Township eliminates police department

Published 9:57 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

SILVER CREEK TWP. — A local law enforcement unit is no longer operational.

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Silver Creek Township Board passed an ordinance to recognize the elimination of the Silver Creep Township Police Department, and to repeal the ordinance establishing the department.

“Silver Creek Township has historically provided law enforcement, community policing, peace officer and blight services to the township,” said Silver Creek Township Supervisor Mick Braman, reading from the ordinance. “Such policing services did not adequately address the needs of Silver Creek Township.”

Established in 2004, the township’s police department never had more than about five employees, according to board members, and was recently hampered by the resignation of Police Chief Mike Grice, as well as the death of its main blight officer.

“We’re not in the business of policing here,” Braman said. “This is a township government office, so we’re going with professionals.”

The Cass County Sheriff’s Department will take over policing in the township, as they do in other local townships.

“They know the costs, they know how to go about policing in these individual townships,” said Braman, adding the Dowagiac Police Department also provided an offer to police the township, but ultimately did not have the specifics the township needed. “We wanted to go with the best contracts for the taxpayers, but we want to do so in a timely manner.”

The decision to eliminate the township police was made at a previous special meeting, but Braman said the township was contacted by the Michigan State Police, which said they needed the board to officially recognize the elimination of the police department and repeal the establishing ordinance for purposes related to the Michigan Law Enforcement Information Network.

The township will continue to handle blight enforcement, and also is looking to sell its police vehicle, possibly to the Cass County Sheriff’s Department. Trustee Mike Glynn said he would rather see the vehicle sold to the county than anywhere else.

The county is expected to begin service May 1.

In other business, the board:

  • Discussed and tabled a motion regarding the purchase of a video surveillance system.
  • Approved a $625 monthly stipend to building inspector Scott Saunders for gasoline and other vehicle maintenance related to his duties.
  • Approved spring clean-up days for May 27-30.