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Meridian Township cuts police patrols in Williamstown Township

Meridian Township sign
Meridian Township Police

Meridian Township is cutting police patrols provided to nearby Williamstown Township in half.

Under the previous contract, Meridian provided 80 patrol hours a week to Williamstown. That has been cut to 40. Meridian Township Manager Frank Walsh says there were many times when fulfilling the contract with Williamstown forced Meridian to pay overtime.

"To make sure that we maintained our number one priority, which is proper police coverage here in Meridian Township,” Walsh said.

The patrol reduction is included in a new contract that went into effect last month.

To increase staffing levels, Walsh says the township is looking for and recruiting new officers. He points out an officer who was previously hired, who worked in loss prevention at a department store.

“Any time we come in contact with people who we think might make a good law enforcement officer but had never thought about it,” Walsh said, “we actively recruit them.”

Walsh says Meridian Township will pay recruits who attend a police academy.

Meridian Township currently has a police staff of 36. Walsh says he needs that to grow to 41, and if it does, they may return to 80 hours of service to Williamstown.

Township officials are also dealing with the untimely death of Meridian Township Supervisor Ronald Styka. There now is a vacancy that will necessitate quick action.

Styka was injured in a fall at his home last week. His death was announced at Tuesday’s township board meeting.

Walsh says the board now has two vacancies, and state law requires that appointments happen within 45 days.

“The township elections are every four years,” he explained. “Our next election isn’t until 2024, but under state law, because of where we’re at and the timing of these, these two new board members will have to stand for election here in just a few months.”

The board chooses a supervisor from within its ranks. Elections will be held this August and November.

Walsh says the process will be discussed by the board next week. A selection committee will decide who gets interviewed, and then will send candidates to the full board for consideration.

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