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May 7, 2014

Village officials mull community deputy

SUTTONS BAY — Suttons Bay officials are mulling a contract to have a Leelanau County sheriff’s deputy provide police services for the bayfront village.

Village Manager Wally Delamater said Chief Del Moore resigned in April to take a detective position with the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians.

Moore’s departure effectively dissolved the single-person department. Officials now face a choice between hiring another chief or contracting with the Leelanau County Sheriff’s Department for a deputy who can provide community policing services.

“It sounds like we’re leaning toward contracting,” Delamater said.

Sheriff’s deputies provide part- or full-time police services in several Leelanau County communities. Leelanau County Sheriff Mike Borkovich said the goal is to strike a contract in Suttons Bay that will go into effect June 1, in time for the summer rush of tourists.

“The big thing is there’s going to be another deputy assigned full-time over there,” he said.

Borkovich said under the terms being discussed the village would pay for the deputy’s wages and vehicle mileage. He said the sheriff’s department would cover the cost of uniforms, equipment and the vehicle itself.

Moore, who made an unsuccessful bid for Leelanau County Sheriff in 2012, said he encouraged village officials to contract with the sheriff when he resigned. He said Suttons Bay’s police force thinned from a handful of officers to him alone during his 14-year career with the department.

“I think that it’s a good thing that Suttons Bay is looking at contracting with the sheriff,” Moore said. “It would give them consistency there. The community needs a full-time police officer.”

Delamater said village officials don’t yet have a contract, and decisions will be made in the next few weeks. He said any agreement must be voted on by both village council members and Leelanau County commissioners.

Borkovich said he’s shifted regular sheriff’s deputy patrols toward eastern Leelanau County until the village comes up with a plan.

Delamater said village council members likely will make a decision at their May 19 meeting.

“I think it’s going to be a positive change,” he said. “If they don’t like it or it doesn’t work out, either party will have the opportunity to walk away.”



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