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Zeeland looks at options to restructure police department

Dustin Dwyer
Michigan Radio
Zeeland could eliminate the police department altogether and contract with the county sheriff.

The small town of Zeeland could be the latest in Michigan to restructure its police department.

The city has a new fact-finding committee to look at options for the department. The current police chief is set to retire in about a month.

Mayor Kevin Klynstra says the city may be able to save money by making changes to the department.

"We’ve got the money," he says. "That’s not it. But will we have the money one, or two, or three years down the road? We don’t know, but we’re just trying to be wise with the taxpayer’s money."

Klynstra says three options are on the table for the department:

  1. Disband the department and contract with the county sheriff for policing. 
  2. Keep the police officers, but create a new public safety director to oversee both police and fire.
  3. Keep things as they are. 

Klynstra is one of three people on the fact-finding committee. He says he hopes to have a recommendation by August.

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.