March 18 2013 12:00 AM

Proposal would allow deputies to conduct road patrols

Monday, Nov. 28 — Four Ingham County deputies could start
patrolling Lansing streets as early as January, Mayor Virg Bernero announced today.

Ingham County Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth has agreed to allow
four deputies from his department to conduct traffic patrols within city limits,
Bernero said. The deputies, called PA416 deputies, are paid for through state
dollars raised from ticket writing and are designated to only do traffic
duties, Wriggelsworth said at a press conference.

“Nobody’s getting the shaft here,” Wriggelsworth said of
Ingham County residents. “They’re going to get the same quality service at the
reduced rate that we’ve had for the last couple years.”

Wriggelsworth said the four deputies don’t answer calls for
service, “so that part of the equation is not going to be changed one bit.”

Bernero praised the proposal, which would free up the Police
Department to assign more officers to other needs, he said. The deputies are to be paid for with state
funds, he added.

“It’s a no-lose proposition for the City of Lansing,”
Bernero said. “It allows us to augment the force that is out there. The chief
and I are very receptive to the idea.”

According to state law, the proposal requires approval from
both the City Council and the Ingham County Board of Commissioners, Bernero
said. He intends to present the proposal to City Council at its meeting
tonight, where he said he expects it to be referred to committee for further
consideration. Bernero did not expect any problems getting the proposal passed.

“I imagine that this will be up and running by next year,”
Bernero said. “Who could be against having more cops on the street?”

Wriggelsworth said he would pursue county approval once the
City Council approved the proposal.

Previously, state law did not allow county deputies to
patrol within Lansing city limits, Wriggelsworth said, but a recent change to
the law now allows county patrols to cross into the city. He stressed that the
four deputies involved in the change only work traffic incidents, not service

“They work traffic,” he said. “Whether they work traffic in
the city or Delhi Township or Meridian Township or wherever, it’s traffic. They
don’t take calls for service. They are traffic deputies only. We would have
done it before, we just weren’t able to.”

Lansing Police hief Teresa Szymanski said details concerning
how often the county deputies will patrol within the city as well as where they
will go will be worked out between her and Wriggelsworth after the plan is

“It will be when our schedule has them available to work
those duties in the city,” Wriggelsworth said. “It won’t be every day.”

Wriggelsworth has four PA416 — referring to the Public Act
that allows such patrols — deputies on his staff, he
said. Six are needed for seven-day-a-week coverage. He said he is not expecting
to receive any more deputies to help with the increased coverage area.
Wriggelsworth also said that most tickets written in Lansing are done through
Lansing ordinances, which would continue with the county deputies so the city will
receive the ticket revenue.

Wriggelsworth estimated that the state pays about $113,000
per year for each PA416 deputy in his department.