Destroy our public safety


When city officials in Iron River stick their heads in the sand, and are totally nonchalant about police services and public safety, it makes me very angry. It should make a lot of people angry.

When people come into the city, whether they’re traveling through, work in Iron River, shop in Iron River, or do any other activities they are afforded the same police protection as residents of the community.

The population of Iron River is about 3,000 people, but obviously temporarily increases at certain times. To minimize this is totally absurd.

To make a statement that, “some crimes in Iron River are not committed by Iron River residents,” doesn’t even deserve a response.

To focus on cutting police services only, I would say that these officials wake up and smell the coffee. All city employees draw a wage and benefits. To pick out the police and virtually destroy our public safety is unconscionable.

All employees of the city should be commended for doing the best they can with what they have to work with. They are all well trained.

Police officers in this day-and-age are required to have a college education. Of course they pay for it. Most pay the cost of going to the police academy which is 16 weeks long. The state of Michigan requires this, when officers receive employment they are mandated to have so much training every year, state requirement to keep working as police officers.

The day of city officials putting a badge on someone and issuing a service weapon are long gone.

Oh, the words used, go out there and arrest people or do your job, which is unclear to begin with. Those days are long past. We never want those days to ever come back.

The present chief of police has many years of dedicated service to the community. He puts a tremendous amount of overtime into what he does.

He is not compensated for all the extra hours he puts in. He is a man of honor, courage, commitment and integrity. To force him to retire is totally uncalled for. All the officers deserve respect and to be thanked for putting their lives on the line for the citizens of the community. Every time they put the uniform on they are proud to serve.

To say they are overpaid is definitely not true. They sacrifice their family time, work holidays, shift work is a challenge, but they do what they have to do to get the job done and keep us safe, including all the people coming into the community.

These city officials better wake up, but of course if they keep on sleeping, we are in big trouble.

This incident that happened recently involving a child playing in a city park, having come in contact with methamphetamine material could have been a tragedy. It was a miracle that the adult recognized what it could possibly be and called police.

Some of us remember the methcathinone (“Cat”) that plagued Iron County. It took a concerted effort of all law enforcement agencies in the county, and UPSET (Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team) to gather intelligence to take these drug dealers down. We absolutely cannot let this happen again.

Law enforcement officers out in the community making contact with people do gather information needed to solve crimes.

Someone quoted: “The citizens are the eyes or ears of the police.” Without them police would have a lot of difficulty trying to do their job.

Contrary to some people’s thinking, little birds flying overhead do not give information to the police.

The chief of police in Iron River is hired to run the department as he sees fit. He has done a marvelous job and the community is lucky to have him. He doesn’t need interference from city officials to do his job.

All police that serve the public deserve our support, just think what this country would be like if we didn’t have law enforcement.

In closing – wouldn’t it be a tragedy if you called 911 and you needed the police right away and the 911 dispatcher says “Sorry, we do not have an officer to respond.” Do you blame the 911 center? Absolutely not. As they are not out there.

When city officials post meeting times on the City Hall door at 4 p.m., and the meeting is the next day, how many people go to the City Hall when they are closed? It might be legal – technically 24 hours? It sure is not ethical.

Do you think we are being hoodwinked? I believe so.

Curtis Soderbloom

Iron River