2017-02-09 / Views

Doubts on boat, but deputy a possibility

On two proposals being pitched by the county sheriff, our thoughts at this time are thumbs up for one and thumbs down for the other.

Those are early assessments so, yes, we can be swayed.

On a proposal to apply for a grant from the federal Homeland Security Administration to buy a Lake Michiganworthy boat for the Sheriff’s Office, we question whether such a purchase represents a wise investment.

The boat would cost $500,000, of which the feds would kick in about 25 percent. Why the grant would be funneled through Homeland Security is a mystery to us. Certainly there are more clear and present dangers in America than presented by the shoreline of Leelanau County.

The boat, with a length of 29- to 32-feet, would handle rough seas that endanger the Sheriff’s present 25-foot boat. However, if an emergency should occur, the Coast Guard helicopter stationed in Traverse City would likely be first on the scene to save lives in jeopardy.

And since the proposal does not include an increase in personnel, the number of patrols offered in county waters will not increase.

Perhaps they would decrease on Glen Lake and Lake Leelanau.

We believe the county can find a better place to spend $375,000, if it has a mind to do so.

A proposal to hire a deputy shared by Glen Lake Community Schools, Empire Township and Glen Arbor Township may, indeed, reap benefits. They would also share the cost, estimated at about $80,000 annually.

The calendar sets up nicely for such an arrangement, with the school garnering attention from the deputy during the tourist “off season.” And certainly Empire and Glen Arbor could use extra policing during the summer months.

And the Sheriff speaks from years of law enforcement experience when explaining the difficulty of responding to calls on a peninsula divided by a 20-mile lake. Having such a deputy in place ensures swift response to problems in the southwest part of the county.

Again, it comes down to cost-benefit decision. Remember that the National Park Service also beefs up its security in summer.

At an early stage of the discussion, the boat seems over the top while there are clear benefits to adding a deputy.

Return to top