In the wake of record-high gas prices under President Biden, police officers are being forced to respond to non-emergency calls over the phone rather than reporting to the scene.
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Michael Main, a Michigan County Sheriff told his constituents that the increase in gas prices is going to change the way officers in Isabella County are able to serve their community, according to the Detroit Metro Times
“Isabella County Sheriff’s Department is feeling the pain at the pump as well,” the Sheriff wrote on Facebook. “We have exhausted what funds were budgeted for fuel with several months to go before the budget resets.”
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Michigan is one of 20 states where average gas prices exceed $5 per gallon, according to Campus Reform.
“I have instructed the deputies to attempt to manage whatever calls are acceptable over the phone,” the sheriff said. “This would be non-in-progress calls, non-life threatening calls, calls that do not require evidence collection or documentation.”
Main then assured his community that deputies will still be patrolling all areas of the county and responding in person to all calls that require an officer to be present.
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“I want to assure the community that safety is our primary goal, and we will continue to respond to those types of calls,” he concluded.
ABC reported that Isabella County Commissioner Jerry Jaloszynski is optimistic the situation will be resolved soon.
A little farther south, an Ohio police department is having similar issues maintaining its budget.
According to a Zanesville, Ohio newspaper, the South Zanesville Police Department will halt driving patrols and instead instruct officers to stop, turn off their vehicles and patrol an area from one location.
Law enforcement agencies are not the only first responders struggling to combat the rising fuel prices.
The director of an emergency management agency in southern Illinois, Ryan Buckingham, told ABC that he had to issue a policy directive regarding non-emergency activities due to the increase in costs.
“I have a small budget to work with. I have to look out for that pretty quick,” Buckingham said. “When it hits $5 a gallon, it gets even worse.”