ALPENA — Alpena City Council members had asked for a more detailed monthly police report. Police Chief George White obliged Monday, but council members had questions.
White’s report showed 16 speeding citations written in November. Three were for 11-14 mph over the speed limit, another 11 were for 15-20 over and two others were for more than 20 mph over the limit.
Other citations were for:
-Careless or prohibited driving (one).
-No vehicle registration (one).
-Expired or no vehicle license (one).
-Expired or no driver’s license (one).
-No proof of insurance (three).
Nineteen warnings were written for speeding 11-14 mph over the limit and seven more were for miscellaneous violations, which White said were mainly for headlight or taillight violations.
There was one drug-related arrest — possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of controlled substance — and Alpena officers assisted other agencies three times.
The report indicated White worked about 80 hours for the month and the second officer on staff, Daniel Mehn, worked 28.
Alderman Ottis Morse asked why there were three citations for the lower level speeding, but 19 warnings.
White said the citations were written because the driver was right at 14 mph over, while most of the warnings were below 14.
Alderman A.J. Womack calculated the hours officers worked by officers and said it appeared they averaged about six traffic stops each per week per shift. White agreed, and Mayor Theron McCammond pointed out that not all those hours worked were on patrol.
Womack went on to say the council is frustrated that the department doesn’t operate the way it once did. He said it wasn’t necessarily the council’s place to tell officers when to write citations, but there are often speeders and trucks using engine brakes, not to mention drugs in the city.
White said the department has half the staff it did in the past. The two officers could work more hours, but Womack said the city can’t afford it.
White said officers in the past had probably written citations for some offenses for which warnings are written now.
“Those are violations of the traffic code,” White said. “But at what point do we want to just be revenue generating versus protect and serve?”
Womack said he wasn’t interested in the department being a revenue generator for city coffers. “I care for it being able to pay for itself and keep up with itself so it can do the stuff we need to do and keep the dope out of the town,” he said. “That’s what I care about.”
The council voted unanimously to accept the monthly police report.
Aldermen also encouraged White to begin thinking about traffic control for the annual Christmas parade, set for 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8.
They said a Boone County Sheriff’s deputy helped last year and the police chief organized entries before the parade started. McCammond said Green Forest Police could also send on officer to Alpena for traffic control.