Addison Township’s police force is about to get a little bigger.
Last week, the township board voted 7-0 to amend its 2016 law enforcement services agreement with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. Modifications include adding a no-fill deputy to the substation and changing one of its existing deputies to no-fill status.
No-fill means the sheriff’s office will not automatically provide the municipality with a substitute deputy whenever one of its contract deputies is absent.
Deputies with fill automatically have their shifts covered when they miss work.
But there is a higher cost for this extra coverage. A no-fill deputy costs $130,888 for the year versus a deputy with fill, which costs $152,874.
Addison is going to save approximately $44,000 annually by having two no-fill deputies.
The substation will now be staffed by a detective sergeant and six deputies.
Both no-fill deputies will work the midnight shift, which runs from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
“Days and afternoons will stay fill positions,” explained Sgt. Keith Weir, commander of the Addison substation.
The additional deputy replaces the midnight-shift officer eliminated by the township board in 2013 due to budgetary issues.
As a result of that decision, there was only one contract deputy working midnights five nights a week, so the township was forced to pay overtime wages to have an officer cover the other two nights.
The township budgeted $96,000 in overtime for the 2015-16 fiscal year, which ended March 31, and actually spent $72,989.
Paying overtime wages two nights a week cost the township a lot less than paying a contract deputy for five nights. This allowed the township to stay within its existing police budget and avoid going to the voters for a millage increase.
“It was a way of saving money and keeping 24-hour coverage,” explained township Supervisor Bruce Pearson. “Everybody else had to (ask) for millages. Orion had to put one on (the ballot). Oxford had to put one on. We never did. We worked within our means. I got creative on the scheduling.”
Now that the police budget is once again stable, Addison can afford to bring back the sixth deputy.
“We’re in good shape,” Pearson said.
Having another midnight deputy means that for three nights a week, Addison will have two officers on the road that can provide backup for each other.
“We won’t have to call for mutual aid from the other townships,” Weir said. “Now, we have to call every night for mutual aid when(ever) there has to be more than one car dispatched.”
As a retired deputy with 33 years experience under his belt, Pearson knows firsthand how crucial having backup is when it comes to keeping officers safe.
“I want to make sure all our deputies go home when they’re done with their shift,” he said. “Whatever advantage I can give them, I’ll give them.”
The Oakland County Board of Commissioners must vote on the amendment to Addison’s contract in order for it to take effect. “We’ve asked for the position to be filled on June 4,” Weir said.