Washtenaw County officials will formally cooperate to provide a safer Ypsilanti community with the announcement of the Eastern Washtenaw Safety Alliance (EWSA), the parties announced Tuesday.
According to Eastern Michigan University’s website, EWSA is a coalition of top area officials and law enforcement leaders spearheaded by State Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township. The collaboration will tap into the resources of area police agencies, governments and organizations to expand crime-fighting efforts in a variety of crucial ways in the eastern Washtenaw County region.
“Most people would be surprised to learn that in the greater Ypsilanti area there are three different police agencies, each with its own separate and narrow geographical responsibility,” Rutledge said in a press release. “To this end, I called together the leadership of these police agencies and units of government in the area and posed this question: Is there a way that these three policing departments can systematically utilize interagency partnerships and community strategies to proactively address public safety issues? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes.’”
Recently, EMU, the City of Ypsilanti and the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Department have worked together to upgrade their public safety services.
Eastern is in the process of adding 10 additional police officers, bringing their force up to 43 officers. The City of Ypsilanti has added eight more police officers, for a total of 29 public safety officials.
EMU is in the process of adding 10 additional police officers, bringing their total of police officers to 43. While the City of Ypsilanti has added eight more police officers, for a total of 29 public safety officials.
EMU announced it would be reinvesting $1.7 million dollars of capital from the tuition increase into public safety at the June 10 Board of Regents meeting. The funds would be used for:
“The alliance is a major step in fighting crime in the Ypsilanti area,” EMU President Susan Martin said in a press release. “With more than 500 cameras, a professional and experienced police force, and extensive safety protocols and practices, Eastern’s campus is very safe. Our focus is on maintaining the extensive safety operations in place on Eastern’s campus while greatly increasing the University’s off-campus presence. The alliance and these collective efforts are powerful steps in enhancing safety for everyone in Ypsilanti and the surrounding areas.”
In a City Council meeting in May, Ypsilanti announced it would be spending $600,000.00 in converting its street lights to LED. The conversion will provide more illumination and eventually save the city money due to energy efficiency.
“Safety and security are an important part of what a community needs to thrive,” Ypsilanti Chief of Police Tony DeGiusti said. “It has become more and more clear that no one agency working alone can solve its crime and disorder problems. This is mainly because criminals are mobile, and they don’t pay attention to lines on a map or what jurisdiction they are in.”
The new coalition will also involve partnerships with Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority and the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority. Officials hope cooperation between the departments and an increased police presence will result in a safer eastern Washtenaw County.
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