Houghton Co. Sheriff Budget Cuts
Houghton–The Houghton county sheriff’s department is being impacted by the recent budget cuts in Lansing. It could mean fewer officers on the roads. Houghton county sheriff Brian Mclean agreed to give me a tour of the current jail. Built in 1963 it has the normal wear and tear you’d expect. It’s one of the reasons he’s hoping for mileage to build a new one.
He’s also dealing with the latest budget cuts out of the capital. About 13-million dollars was recently slashed from departments across the state. Mclean admits, “We’re almost all at the breaking point and there comes a time when you got to play defense.”
The new budget means more inmates are being housed at the county jail rather than being sent to prison with no additional funding. Low level offenders are often released, but sometimes they end up back in the system. The sheriff says it’s cheaper to house them at the already overcrowded county jail level.
Road patrol officer funding has been cut. There are 10 certified officers in Houghton. Two are in danger of being slashed. A blow the sheriff says he’s can’t take.
Statewide 119 road patrolmen have been phased out. Mclean says other supplemental funding is looking good, but he worries about staff and low level offenders with money being this tight.
For now he’s holding his budget tight and hoping lawmakers will have a change of heart before his staff gets any smaller.