Battle continues at Lansing City Hall over funding police vehicles

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LANSING, Mich.( WLNS) –  The dispute between Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero and some members of Lansing City Council has been ongoing, but now the quarrel has to do with police vehicles.

Specifically, whether or not to use remaining cash from the existing city budget to fund new ones.

“I came here to car number 26. I’m going to work the road patrol I put the keys in and the car won’t start,” said Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski.

A police lot full of flat tires, dents and engine problems.

Lansing Police Chief Mike Yankowski says it’s a constant problem Lansing police officers shouldn’t have to battle.

“Our police officers rely on this piece of equipment every single day to respond 911 calls of service so not having a reliable vehicle is an issue,” said Yankowski.

In total Lansing needs to replace more than 20 police vehicles, 10 of which have racked up over 90,000 miles.

“Look, when people call 911 they need an answer, they need a response. And the vehicle is what gets them there,” said Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero.

Mayor Bernero says it’s about time city dollars are spent on long term investments within the Lansing Police Department instead of short term fixes.

“You’ve seen those vehicles, the fleet is aging it has to be replaced and it’ll cost money. You are throwing good money after bad when you start repairing these vehicles,” said Bernero.

But Councilmember Carol Wood says there’s already money allocated to funding police vehicles in the city’s budget and instead the extra cash should be spent on hiring officers to fill those vehicles and incentivizing them to stay.

“Our practices that we are currently doing is not working. We gotta get a handle on how we hire smarter and better and entice that small pool of applicants to Lansing,” said Wood.

There will be a special council meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. to get the budget amendment approved before the state deadline.

The state deadline is Thursday at midnight.

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