Shelby Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis speaks during the 2018 State of Shelby Township address July 18 at the Packard Proving Grounds. Stathakis highlighted public safety for much of the address.

Shelby Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis speaks during the 2018 State of Shelby Township address July 18 at the Packard Proving Grounds. Stathakis highlighted public safety for much of the address.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Fire, Police departments focus of State of Shelby Township address

By: Joshua Gordon | Shelby - Utica News | Published July 23, 2018

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Standing against a backdrop that included Shelby Township fire and police vehicles, Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis gave his State of Shelby Township address July 18 at the Packard Proving Grounds.

Stathakis spent most of his time talking about the township’s police officers and firefighters and how their hard work and cost-saving methods have helped make Shelby Township one of the best, and safest, places to live in Macomb County.

The community approved a 45-person volunteer Fire Department in 1953, and a Police Department followed shortly behind with one full-time officer. Stathakis said that the department grew to five officers by 1960.

“If you aren’t safe, nothing else matters,” Stathakis said. “A lot has changed in the township since 1960, but what has not changed is the peace of mind we have thanks to the best trained and equipped Police and Fire departments in all of Macomb County, and quite possibly the state of Michigan.”

Stathakis highlighted a number of initiatives and changes that have helped improve both departments over the past year. Fire Station No. 5 opened last summer near 21 Mile and Schoenherr roads, and a new Fire Station No. 4 is being built 4 miles north to provide better overall coverage to the community.

Along the construction lines, Stathakis said a 7,200-square-foot addition to the police station on the municipal campus off Van Dyke Avenue will provide better services for the police.

The Police Department began stationing a school resource officer at Utica High School in a partnership with Utica Community Schools this spring, and a new collaborative task force between police and fire personnel will provide better safety and response times in the event of a shooting incident.

Stathakis said that for fire alone, service calls have risen 5 percent since 2016. Seeing the work being done by both departments is why people are moving to the community, he said.

“Shelby Township has grown from a small, rural village to a prosperous community, and our officers and firefighters have been with us every step of the way,” Stathakis said. “They provide the kind of protection we need and allow for families to put down roots and grow for the future.”

Stathakis cited a 2018 report by Alarms.org, which named Shelby Township as one of the top 30 safest communities in Michigan based on violent and property crimes.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel spoke at the event before Stathakis and said that signs of a great community are its public education and its public safety. Watching what the Shelby Township Fire and Police departments have done is a great sign for the county as a whole, he said.

“What you do for public safety is something people don’t talk about,” Hackel said. “You don’t hear people saying they feel unsafe in their community. People feel safe and secure, and that is because of the commitment you have to your police and fire.”

Along with the public safety, Stathakis during his address highlighted several other positive notes in the community over the past year.

Shelby Township saw 162 new businesses open in 2017, and 164 new single-family homes built. Part of the reason for the changes with the fire stations was to provide better coverage as the community grows in its northeast quadrant.

The community also opened its splash pad around Memorial Day at Chief Gene Shepherd Park. The splash pad has a firefighter theme and includes 10 different water features.

The township also broke ground in April for the new 41-A District Court. With that project underway, Stathakis said the focus now turns to providing new space for the Shelby Township Library and the Senior Center.

With all the new construction, and more to come, Stathakis said he and the Board of Trustees pride themselves on doing all the projects without raising taxes.

“In today’s economy, you always have to be ready to tighten our belts and do more with less,” Stathakis said. “We are very proud that we are able to keep our costs low and want to continue to not have to raise taxes.”

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