Monday, February 22, 2010
Blues vs. Browns
It's one of those hush-hush sort of things in the law enforcement community; the less said the better but yet there is no denying the fact that a turf war is always at the ready when it comes to Michigan State Troopers, Michigan Sheriffs and other local police officers. Years ago the Trooper's union published a statewide survey that showed the State Cops were more widely respect than any other agency in the state and the in-your-face stuff was not well received by others who wore a badge. But the story goes beyond that. When it comes to crime fighting the Who-Is-In-Charge and Who-Got-The-Bad-Guy first is a constant internal game between all the cop shops. Now comes one that threatens to strain relations just a tad as the governor has opened up a can of budget worms. She wants to save state trooper jobs by re-allocating a.k.a stealing $2.2 million from secondary road patrols which is money going to local sheriffs and others. The secondary road patrol fund goes back thirty years and was the subject of a ferocious battle as the state police tried to block state dollars from going to sheriff patrols. The troopers lost mostly because the chair of the senate budget committee at the time, Sen. Jerome Hart (D-Saginaw) wanted to help the sheriffs. Gov. Jennifer Granholm wants to back her state troopers and if the sheriffs lose out, so be it. Not so fast cries GOP Senator Valde Garcia who chairs the law enforcement budget. He grasps the essence of this debate: "It pits the state police against the sheriffs and local police at a time when they need to be working together.' Garcia wants to avert trooper layoffs as you recall the flap last year when 120 troopers fresh out of trooper school found themselves for awhile fresh out of work. It was not pretty. Problem for Garcia is simple, if not money from the secondary road patrols, where does he go? "I have no alternatives at the moment," he confesses but his search is underway as he hopes to avert another shoot out between the cops in blue and the ones in brown.