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Grosse Pointe Shores expected to contract with Grosse Pointe Woods for dispatch and prisoner lockup

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 22, 2019

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — A new emergency dispatching facility and prisoner lockup in Grosse Pointe Woods is getting positive reviews from Grosse Pointe Shores’ top public safety official.

“The security is exceptional,” Shores Public Safety Director John Schulte told the Shores City Council during an Oct. 15 council meeting. “It’s a first-class operation.”

The Shores, which has been using dispatching and lockup facilities in Grosse Pointe Farms for the last few years, is slated to switch to the Woods Dec. 2. The Woods and Shores were able to take advantage of a $500,000 state of Michigan Public Safety Consolidation Grant to purchase sophisticated new dispatching equipment and renovate the Woods’ lockup and prisoner processing area to increase security and accommodate prisoners arrested by Shores officers.

Schulte said the Woods took its easternmost vehicle bay to create a sally port for prisoners to be securely brought into the facility and transferred from a public safety vehicle into the prisoner processing/lockup facility.

“It’s well-done,” Schulte said of the design.

He said the facility includes a cell that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, as required by law, and a bullpen that can hold four to five prisoners.

Schulte said the Shores would continue to book and fingerprint prisoners in the Shores, as well as collect the personal belongings of arrestees. He said they’ll still use their own Breathalyzer as well.

“If we were to use their facility for prisoner processing, the cost of the contract would be much higher,” Schulte told Shores officials.

“Do we know what our transitional costs will be?” Mayor Ted Kedzierski asked.

Schulte said the only item they’ll need to look into are the phones to make sure that both phone systems are compatible.

“It’s most likely just phone changes,” Schulte responded. “Everything else has been covered by the grant.”

Although a Shores officer will still need to remain with a prisoner to maintain custody of that person if the prisoner needs to be transported to the hospital for medical issues, Schulte said, the new lockup arrangement will benefit the Shores in that regard as well.

“Medstar is going to do all of the (prisoner) transfers,” Schulte said. “It’s going to simplify (matters) and keep our medics in town.”

In the Shores, all officers are triple-trained; they’re either trained as paramedics or emergency medical technicians, so the Shores operates its own ambulance instead of contracting out that service.

Kedzierski said the contract calls for the Shores to pay “$70,000 for year one, but we don’t know about the cost for years two and three.” As a result, he recommended that the council only approve the contract initially for one year.

Schulte said the Shores is currently paying the Farms $75,000 per year for dispatching and lockup, but he acknowledged that not knowing the cost for years two and three of the Woods contract is “a legitimate concern.” However, he also told Shores officials that the Woods has a strong incentive to want to keep the contract with the Shores.

The Shores City Council was slated to vote on the dispatch/lockup contract with the Woods during its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Nov. 19. The first year of the contract would run from Dec. 1, 2019, to Nov. 30, 2020, and would be paid for in quarterly installments.