Zeeland considers changes to Police Department

The City of Zeeland is considering getting rid of its police department.

ZEELAND, MICH. - Zeeland's Police Department could soon be gone as the city considers other options when it comes to law enforcement. 

As Zeeland Police Chief William Olney plans to officially retire at the end of this month, city officials are wondering do they need their own police department?

A committee organized by the city has been researching options on what to do with the PD. City officials tell WZZM 13 they're considering a few options:

  • Keep the department as is and hire a new police chief
  • Contract with an outside service like the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office
  • Merge police and fire into a public safety department.

This comes as news to parent, Chol Kwek, who has been a Zeeland resident for two years. 

"I don't think it's a bad move, given Zeeland is a very safe place to live," he said. 

But with many major changes, there are some slight concerns.

"Not getting to people on time because they'd be further away," he said. "Either way I think it’ll be all right." 

Sentiments were echoed by Richard Gordon who has owned Main Street Bicycle Company for seven years.

"I really like the Zeeland Police Department," Gordon said. "I really like having a local department, but I know if that's a necessary step, that Ottawa County will do a very good job too." 

But Gordon is no stranger to this transition. The Hudsonville resident went through the same thing in 2006, when that city transferred their police operations to Ottawa County.

"We were concerned about it but, again, it's one of those things of, I would rather have the Hudsonville Police. But did I see a drop off or anything like that? No, no I didn't see a drop off in service or response or anything like that," he said. 

The committee considering these changes will give a progress report to the City Council on Oct. 23.  

A public hearing will take place in November in which anyone can come out and hear the progress report and share their thoughts. That meeting will be held on Nov. 1 at 7 p.m. at the Howard Miller Library and Community Center. 

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© 2017 WZZM-TV


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