EAST TAWAS – State officials with the Michigan State Police (MSP) are looking to possibly move the East Tawas MSP detachment operation from East Tawas to Plainfield Township, according to Lt. Michael Brown.
Brown, the assistant post commander of the MSP’s West Branch Post, said the MSP is exploring facilities in Plainfield Township for the move, which would shift the detachment offices over to that side of the county. He said regardless of the detachment’s potential relocation, it would not shrink or hamper the current MSP presence or operations in Iosco County at all.
Brown said the move would be for a variety of reasons, including for better service in that area of the county, as well as moving away from the East Tawas building, which is 85 years old and does not suit the current needs of troopers.
The East Tawas detachment, which was the former East Tawas MSP post, was closed to the public when the department reorganized in 2011, but was still used as a detachment building by troopers.
Brown said in the case the MSP would move from the building, the building and property would revert to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which has actually been leasing the property to the MSP since the building was constructed back in the 1930s. The post is one of many built during the 1930s as part of a Works Progress Administration project.
“While the building is structurally sound, it’s not in perfect condition,” Brown said. “There are a lot of grout and masonry issues, it’s not Americans With Disabilities Act compliant, and we can’t shoehorn 21st Century technology into a building that was constructed almost 90 years ago.”
There is also statistics from Iosco County Central Dispatch that backs a move to Plainfield Township, according to Brown.
“We took 25 percent of our calls for service in Plainfield Township, and 12 percent in the Grant Township, specifically the Sand Lake Area,” he said. “So that is 37 percent of our calls in Iosco County in the northwestern or center northwestern area, not including all the calls from the Whittemore and Reno Township areas.”
Brown said when the post was first built, other than town constables and the Iosco County Sheriff Office, the MSP was the only law enforcement in the area, and fit a need.
He said now there are five different law enforcement agencies, including the MSP, in the county, with the majority of them working along the US-23 corridor.
As far as what facility the detachment could move into, Brown said he could not say and said talks are still taking place and the ultimate decision would be made by the MSP leadership team in Lansing.
Other than meeting with people to conduct interviews, and having a place to do office-related work a lot of the time, Brown said troopers can mostly work out of their vehicles, which are equipped with computer terminals and other items, but said not all work can be done from a car.
“That is a big point, there will be no reduction is service from the MSP in Iosco County as a result of any potential relocation,” he said. “There will be no reduction in staffing; the people will still see the ‘Blue Gooses’ on the east side and the west side of the county.”