LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Soaring gas prices aren’t just straining families and businesses, but also public services.
Clinton County Sheriff Sean Dush said everyone is feeling the pinch.
Earlier this month, the Isabella County Sheriff’s Office opted to respond to certain calls over the phone to save gas for patrols and emergencies.
As gas prices heat up, some departments are getting creative to make use of each drop.
“Gas prices are an unfortunate reality that’s hurting everyone. Not just government agencies but everyone. And in my opinion, it’s out of control,” said Dush.
Dush said his deputies drive between 150 to 250 miles a day all in order to serve 16 townships. He said gas costs have been a concern among other county sheriffs, but stresses that Clinton County’s commission is working with the office to keep deputies on the road.
“Everyone I spoke to is on the same page that I’m as far as at this point, we are not changing the way we operate as a result of these gas prices,” said Dush.
The story is different for small agencies like the St. Johns police.
Chief of Police David Kirk said on average, officers drive between 30 to 40 miles a day. This year has been a shock, making it hard to anticipate expenses. He added other small departments are looking for ways to cut back.
“Everybody is trying to wrap around what they can do for cost expenditures. Everybody is taking looks at non-essential budget items. Or you know, everyone has budget priorities, looking at lower priority items, anticipating that there might have to be shifting of funds in there,” Kirk said.
He said while he hopes for an end to the price swell, he’s looking at ways to keep a presence on the street while saving resources for major emergencies.
“I’m going to keep that potential open of maybe putting two officers in the car…Possibly spending more time on foot patrol and being out in the community and extending those times. And be obviously available and responsive to calls. But anything we can kind of keep the gas consumption down and still be able to serve the community well,” Kirk said.
Chief Kirk said he is prepared to cut back on non-essential spending this year if fuel prices continue to rise. But he added that his officers will be ready whenever a call for help comes.