By TEREASA NIMS
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Some citizens are complaining that police and fire services were cut since the installation of the emergency manager in an effort to slash the city’s budget, and that city council isn’t attempting to find a fix to make the department appealing again.
“As any recruit looking for a place of employment, they are looking for the best,” said Police Chief James Wilkewitz said. “We don’t hold the same appeal as we did years ago.”
Malcom Beaton, who serves as chairman for the Police and Fire Civil Service Commission, said the Police Department can’t get officers to come to Allen Park. Beaton hopes to educate the people of the city about the problem.
“The problems are so large,” Beaton said at a recent city council meeting, and asked the mayor to do the city a favor, “and leave.”
Welkewitz said, like most cities, Allen Park is experiencing hardships, such as diminished property values and fewer tax dollars.
“Cuts have been made most everywhere,” he said. “These were made to reduce the deficit.”
While the population in Allen Park remains stagnant at approximately 30,000, the number of officers has decreased and the calls for service have increased, Wilkewitz said.
Wilkewitz, who has been with the department for 19 years and chief since August 2011, said, “Morale is not at an all time high.”
The department recently added two new officers, bringing the total to 36. It was at 55 officers two years ago.