DDA brings back police patrols this summer

Jenny Lancour | Daily Press The Escanaba Downtown Development Authority will be reinstating its downtown police patrol this summer when an Escanaba Public Safety officer will be assigned hours during the week to serve businesses and the public by monitoring main street.

ESCANABA — The Escanaba Downtown Development Authority will reinstate downtown police patrols this coming summer, board members unanimously agreed during the DDA’s regular monthly meeting at city hall Thursday.

Due to budget cuts a year ago, the DDA did not fund a designated cop to monitor the downtown during summer business hours in 2017 like it had a couple summers ago when officers were paid overtime to be on foot or bike patrol.

DDA Director Ed Legault told the board Thursday he recently met with Public Safety Director Rob LaMarche when the two of them shared ideas about reinstating the downtown patrols during the summer at a lower cost to the DDA than past years.

Legault said he and LaMarche discussed having an officer present in the downtown area during some daytime hours Monday through Saturday. The officer’s time spent downtown would be included in their regular work hours rather than overtime as charged to the DDA in the past, noted Legault.

Escanaba Public Safety Capt. Jamie Segorski attended Thursday’s DDA meeting and told the board the department’s current staffing will allow for an officer to be assigned a portion of their regular workshift to monitor the downtown.

“Our goal is to give the DDA… what they need and what they want,” added Segorski, explaining the same officer would be assigned to the downtown area to serve and protect the businesses and the public.

“We’re excited to provide this service for you at this cost,” the captain added, also noting the DDA will know ahead of time what the cost of an officer on downtown patrol will be according to the amount of hours requested by the DDA.

Legault said the DDA plans to budget $10,000 for the summer patrols.

DDA member Mayor Marc Tall said he thinks this plan is the right direction for the DDA.

DDA Chairperson Sue Parker commented, “I really like the idea of having a dedicated officer.”

Following Thursday’s meeting, Legault said a schedule will be worked out for the officer to be downtown on patrol this summer beginning around Memorial Day.

In other business Thursday, the board agreed to pay Meier’s Signs Inc. an amount up to $3,000 for repairs and maintenance on the DDA’s three welcome signs.

Board members were updated on the DDA facade projects, the condemnation process on a building at 910 Ludington St., and city council’s pending decision on criteria for candidates applying for vacant DDA positions.