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Fewer Cops, Enormous Nightlife In Royal Oak

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ROYAL OAK (WWJ) – Royal Oak is worried about summertime crowd control, as the police department continues to lose officers due to budget cuts.

Talking with WWJ Newsradio 950, Royal Oak Police Chief Corey O’Donohue said it’s a busy town with an active night-life.

“Royal Oak, it’s a great town and we’ve got a lot going on in the summer, and we’re gonna lose five positions through retirement. They’re not laying anyone off, but … we’re going to lose these positions when we need them the most,” O’Donohue said.

“We’ve been losing officers for several years now, and we’re down to 70 sworn officers, which is over a 30 percent reduction in recent years,” he said.

The city commission is likely to discuss public safety again Monday night, and whether Royal Oak can handle the loss of more officers at a time when it’s discussing the opening of more nightclubs.

WWJ’s Pat Sweeting spoke with Royal Oak resident Stephanie Williams, who said officials should consider this issue before granting additional liquor licenses in the city.

“Absolutely, I think it’s just common sense. If there’s not enough police to take care of this community, then we need to limit how much people are going to be out drinking,” she said.

A 10-year resident of Royal Oak, Williams said more bars will only cause more congestion downtown, and she’d rather see a wider variety of businesses moving in.

Paige Lustig, who works in Royal Oak and enjoys hanging out in the city’s downtown area, is also concerned.

“Well, yeah, of course. Just because like especially during the summertime, like more people are out and kids are out of school and, you know … there’s a lot of drinking involved and… you need the more protection, the better,” Lustig said.

Meantime, The Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards says police department cuts have reached crisis mode in some cities.

A number of local communities have been forced to cut their police force, including Detroit, Ferndale, Pontiac, Redford Township, Roseville, Trenton, Waterford and Westland.

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