Benzie Sheriff campaigning for law enforcement millage
Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel is putting forth a county law enforcement operations public safety millage proposal for the November election.
Schendel said he wants to provide Benzie County with 24-hour county road patrol services.
"Three o' clock in the morning a man was in her car in the parking lot of her home and he was stealing things out of her car and she called the police," said Jacqueline Carmack referring to an incident that happened to her neighbor in Beulah.
Schendel said he recalls this incident where a woman called the Sheriff's department while a man was breaking into her car outside of her home and law enforcement was unable to assist her because there wasn't a deputy on duty. She was told to call back at 7 a.m. when a deputy would be available.
Schendel said the suspect was later caught but they were unable to assist the woman the moment she called.
"It was really disheartening because she was frightened and she had nobody to help," said Carmack of her neighbor.
This incident is one reason why Schendel wants 24-hour road patrol services in Benzie County.
"My goal is simply to provide the basics, this is what every community should have," said Schendel.
In a six to one vote Monday morning the Benzie County Commission approved language for the law enforcement millage that will go on the ballot on November 5.
Schendel says this millage will allow three deputies to be hired plus an officer that could be used as a detective or liaison officer for the schools.
He said, if passed, two deputies would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"Relatively it's a crime-free area, but let's keep it that way and this helps us achieve that," said Schendel.
Schendel said this millage would replace the current jail millage of .9 mills, so the total taxpayer increase from 2013 to 2014 will be .6 mills.
If approved and levied in full the millage would raise about $1.7 million for Sheriff's Department operations in the first calendar year.
"The reality is this, it's not a done deal it'll be ultimately up to the people to decide whether they want that type of law enforcement," said Schendel.
Steve Loveless, the owner of State of the Art Framing and Gallery in Beulah said in his experience he's not absolutely sure that 24-hour patrol services are necessary.
Jacqueline Carmack said this millage is necessary.
"It's paramount that Benzie County has an officer on duty 24 hours a day," said Carmack.
Tuesday the County Commission and the Sheriff will meet to make sure the language on the millage is legal and once finalized voters will be able to see the official ballot language for themselves.