BARRY TOWNSHIP, Mich. (June 23, 2014)– The Barry Township Police Department is at the center of a community controversy. Dozens spoke out during a city hall board meeting Monday, some saying the department over-staffed and overly aggressive.
With nearly 2,300 people living in town, the department has four full-time and four part-time police officers, in addition to 34 reserve officers.
It’s a number that people who live there, like Tony Corsariol, said is too high.
“People don’t come by as much…people don’t come to town,” Corsarial said.
People avoiding the area, is something Corsariol said isn’t necessarily due to the amount of officers in town, but because they’ve grown fearful of the officers.
“These guys pull their guns out on a daily basis,” Corsariol said.
Many others also spoke out in anger about an alleged incident where a business owner was injured by one the officers while being placed under arrest. They even questioned the need for the amount of reserve officers on duty. Saying, 34 of those officers aren’t necessary with the small amount of people who live there.
However, an officer with the department also spoke, saying he’s been the victim of assaults while on duty. That, if it weren’t for reserve officers, he’d have to wait 15 minutes for back-up to arrive from Hastings, which ultimately puts his life in danger.
The board announced that they think the citizens’ concerns should be looked into. They wrote a letter to Michigan State Police asking them to investigate the accusations of harassment and if they’re staffing too many reserve officers.
A follow-up meeting is expected to take place on Tuesday, July 1.