No police department is the reality for Genesee County’s Gaines Township.
“It kind of makes me nervous,” said resident Mandy Utter.
Utter said the local cops are the reason she lets her young kids walk to class.
“They’re up there every day. The cop is up there watching the kids walk in the school and after school he’s sitting up there waiting for them to come out,” Utter said.
Since the cop won’t be there next time, the walks are over for now.
“I’ll probably be driving my kids more,” Utter said.
Another resident who didn’t want to be identified said police need to be a part of this community.
“They respond to the medical situations out here and they’re often here long before EMS. They respond along with the fire department,” a resident said.
Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson said what the policing in the area will look like for at least the next month.
“I know that residents have a concern for police protection but that’s why in the interim until they figure it out you have the state police and the sheriff’s office,” Swanson said.
Swanson acknowledges calls for help will take longer to respond to.
“Because you don’t have officers dedicated to that township, and it’s in the southwest corner of the county, there are going to be delayed response times if there’s no officer in the area,” Swanson said.
The voters of Gaines Township will decide the fate of law enforcement in their community when they vote May 4 on a Police Millage.
“I’d like it to pass. I like having our own police department here,” Utter said.
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