Currently, Village of Mount Pleasant spends $575 per person each year on public safety. That represents $110 dollars more per person than any other similar village in our state.
In spite of the high investment residents make each year, Mount Pleasant also has the highest crime rate compared to those same villages. Why do we spend so much more? Why is our crime rate still so high?
The truth is, we don’t know. No one does.
Public safety in Mount Pleasant now represents 78 percent of the entire village budget, but no police chief has been required by the Village Board of Trustees to provide an annual report of data and statistics since 2009.
Former Village President Jerry Garski tried to implement annual reports. When he lost re-election, those plans were quickly forgotten by Dave DeGroot.
That means no data on crime, citations, staffing, fleet and equipment inventories are offered or discussed. Public safety needs and expenses are made by offering opinions and best guesses instead of data, facts and comparisons. The famously incurious Village Board are always willing to approve it.
The chief has now asked for $150,000 — for the remainder of the year – to hire four additional police officers. There is no doubt Foxconn will have an impact, and public safety should always be a priority for discussion.
However, the people of Mount Pleasant deserve data-driven reasoning when making these decisions. Trustees must ask questions, demand real answers or step aside. This is no time for amateurs.