Michigan Sheriff Says Gas Prices Too High to Respond to Calls

As most of us learned in the summer of 2020, policing is apparently pretty expensive. With police presence in question across many major cities, people started looking into police budgets. We were shocked to find that over $205 billion a year is spent federally on police forces. Making matters much worse, a Michigan Sheriff said that his deputies would no longer be responding to non-emergency calls because gas prices are too high. 

Jersey City police car
Jersey City police car in Newark | Getty

Gas prices are becoming a real problem

Let me rephrase, gas prices are becoming an even bigger problem. The citizens of this country have been hammered by exorbitant gas prices for the past year. But since the Russian attack on Ukraine, gas prices have soared to unprecedented heights. 

We are currently paying more for fuel than anyone in the country’s history. If that weren’t bad enough, now the police are talking about not being able to afford to answer as many calls in person. 

Do police pay for their own gas? 

The city or township pays for police officers’ fuel while in patrol or undercover cop cars. One town in Michigan is struggling to keep up. Sheriff Michael Main wrote that deputies had been told to “manage non-in-progress calls, non-life-threatening calls, [and] calls that do not require evidence collection or documentation” via phone calls rather than actual visits by the Sheriff’s department. This post has since been deleted. 

According to The Drive, ​​Main explained that the reason for this was because the county had “exhausted what funds were budgeted for fuel with several months to go before the budget reset.” 

Isabella County, where Sherrif Main serves, is afforded a $3.7 million annual operating budget. Out of the $3.7 mil, $40,000 was allocated for “oil and gas.” Since 2020, the department’s budget has grown by more than $500,000. However, the fuel budget has been lowered by more than $3k.

Where do police departments spend their budgets?

When will gas prices go down 2022
Gas prices on May 25, 2022, in Menlo Park, California | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

According to The Drive, the Isabella County Sheriff’s department’s increased budget has gone to salaries. The Drive also found that the department set aside $105k for “new vehicles,” a “Ford SUV,” and a “Ford F-150” that total around $50,000 each after equipment installation.

But the govt of gas is hitting the department more than anything else. The average price of gas in Michigan is $5.22 per gallon, resulting in many people limiting their driving. However, no one expected that the police were limiting their driving. Even weirder still, the Sheriff publicly announcing that police officers are limiting what calls they will respond to is a real shock.  

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