Police pact with county OK'd

After months of discussion, councils for Spring Lake Village and Ferrysburg both unanimously approved a new police services agreement within an hour of each other Monday night.
Marie Havenga
May 20, 2014


Beginning July 1, the two communities will jointly contract with the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department for police protection. Current Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department officers will work for the county as of that date.

Part of the approved agreement includes Ferrysburg and Spring Lake making up the difference in salaries for the first year. By the beginning of the second year, Village Manager Chris Burns said officers will make more with the county than they would have working for the local department.

Also as part of the pact, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg will pay the county for the officers’ vacation hours.

Current Spring Lake/Ferrysburg police officers will keep patrolling the two communities, with the most visible changes being their county-striped uniforms and police vehicles.

The strongest opposing voice of the joint venture, Ferrysburg Councilwoman Regina Sjoberg, was not present at Monday’s City Council meeting. Mayor Dan Ruiter said Sjoberg announced at the meeting two weeks ago that she would be on vacation.

“She made a comment that she was glad she wasn’t going to be there to vote against it,” Ruiter said.

Councilman Chris Larson was also absent due to a work obligation.

Sjoberg voiced consistent opposition to continuing to partner with Spring Lake because she was upset about $624,000 in unfunded police pension benefits.

City Manager Craig Bessinger said he reviewed all of the audits and accounting for pension contributions, and everything checked out. Spring Lake officials, who were in charge of administering the police department and pension plans, contributed the amount recommended each year by the Municipal Employee Retirement System of Michigan.

The county operates a defined contribution retirement plan for its officers.

County-run police protection for the two north bank communities will cost $704,629 for the first year, $814,314 the second and $861,857 in the final year of the three-year contract, according to Bessinger. The current Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department budget is a little more than $1 million.

The savings will pay off the unfunded pension in about 2.5 years, Bessinger said.

To read the whole story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.



Bessenger said...awe, did Chrissy let you speak Craig? Isn't that cute? If only we had heeded that letter of warning in the very beginning. Burns can move on to the next community and wreck her havoc.


Wonder who is managing the Village, the Village Council, or the Manager, and Marv thought Manager Cotton was controlling the Village. There is no doubt in my mind, what he would think today, and today he would have many more people saying and thinking the same thing...Good-by Village.


They are saving $300,000 plus on the first year ? I would like the tribune to look at the line items and see how that is possible. Burns, Bessinger and both Councils are not telling the Public what they are really spending for Police services. How much money are they paying extra to the County for the police officers salaries and vacation hours the first year ? What about building costs, such as the rent the Village charged Ferrysburg. The cleaning cost and utilities that were in the Police Budget before. They are not comparing apples to apples with what they are paying to Ottawa County and what the Police Budget contained before. A quote from Mark Twain "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics." This would sum up the new Police Budget numbers.


Lets see if road patrols and speed control on our superhighway going through the village will improve, I doubt it. But maybe we can see a property tax reduction in the village...sure. Totally agree with you goodshepard.


Congrats to the City of Ferrysburg and Village of Spring Lake for doing the right thing and cutting cost to the citizens. The citizens of both communities certainly will be happy with their new police force. Now hopefully other communities will look at ways to cut costs in the fire services by eliminating duplications of services.


Big mistake. The men and women in brown are not great police officers. And there leader, sheriff Rosema, is weak.

If you need a police officer, request the state police. Huge difference in skill, training, attitude, etc.


Lets see the evidence... Yes call the State Police and see what ya get..A trooper who pulls his gun on the driver for a speeding violation, or wait for 2 hour response time cause they don't have any cars working.... or they have pulled the cars off the road cause it's dark and they don't have a partner. The training... Is the same training requirements for all police officers which falls under the direction of the Michigan State Police Training Council. Yes their attitude is just like a bullhead marine... But I will say they have a few good troopers just like many deputies in the Ottawa County Sheriff Department. You want to call the sheriff weak... well lets see the evidence that supports that kind of a comment. I don't think you have any truthful evidence.


There are many deputies driving around the state who went to state police school and flunked out. Then they got hired by their county sheriff. That's the evidence and this is true in Ottawa Count also.


That is very true Leatherball ! I wonder if Ferrysburg City Council will allow their new deputies to assist in the township. They had a big problem with the slfbpd leaving the City. Hold on Ferrysburg, you have not seen anything yet. I am sure they will keep your deputies in your City and in the Village. Lol. Good luck with that and your contract with OCS after your three year contract is up.


Well I'm thinking that Ferrysburg City had issues with good reason about the SLFBPD car being outside the city limits. It was always outside the city cause they could not find enough to do in either the city or the village. That was being pushed by their officers. Their officers always wanted to run out into the TWP or even Norton Shores. I recalled being on a jury once and the judge verbally attacked the Ferrysburg Spring Lake officer why he was always making drunk driving arrest outside the village. Maybe they should put a cap on the fire service responding outside also. I'm betting the scanner police will be watching.

I think Spring Lake PD has one Sgt that had been hired and fired by Ottawa County Sheriff for failing the Field Training Program. This officer also failed the state police entrance exam which is a general civil service exam.

I do think its time for the Ottawa County Board of Commissioners to start looking at providing more county funded deputies so every tax payer gets the benefit. Congrats to Sheriff Rosema for a job well done.


that's not true, you go for training at the training center on the east side of the state is for all officers, plus prison workers, if you fail training, there is no work with out certification, its 18 weeks of physical and classroom, not easy !!!


sorry your wrong again... The State of Michigan under the direction of the state police have several police academies under the Michigan Law Enforcement training council direction. MSP does have their own in house academy which trains students under the State of Michigan police officer guideline. The only difference they also train for MSP policy and procedures like the City of Detroit does... they also run their own in-house academy like Kalamazoo City for public safety. Stay in your lane... you have no idea what your talking about...


Lets see....lost our police chief...lost our community police....lost our $625000


Totally agree, coming soon, Village of the Manager.


Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on GrandHavenTribune.com? Create a new account today to get started.