MACOMB (WWJ) – Quite a battle is brewing over potholes and 911.

In an exclusive interview with WWJ Newsradio 950, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said drivers in his county should call 911 if they see a really bad pothole on major roads — guaranteeing a response within one hour.

“I was a former dispatcher and I know if somebody called me, I had connections with the department of roads — we still do and we will let them know, and those crews are out there and they’re in direct contact with our dispatchers, so it’s OK to do that,” he said.

But Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said his department has a completely different view.

“Law Enforcement is not able to fix potholes or report them to the proper road commissions,” Shaw said in a statement sent Wednesday night. “Please do not direct the public to tie up 911 lines to report potholes.”

Instead, Shaw said motorists can contact MDOT for potholes on state freeways or their local road commissions for county roads — but not 911.

In response, Hackel said he doesn’t need the state police telling him how to manage public safety in Macomb County.

“Any law enforcement agency that doesn’t want to know that kind of information right away, I have to question,” he said. “But here in Macomb County, we do want to know and we will address it and make sure that pothole is filled within an hour.”

Hackel said Shaw might have misunderstood his message to the county.

“The point isn’t that we want people calling every time they see a pothole. What we said is those jaw-dropping, car-eating potholes that are out there,” he said. “We’re talking about a serious situation where you have a hazardous roadway with a car-damaging pothole… meaning someone is going to get hurt or something bad is going to happen. Bring it to our attention.”

Hackel said huge potholes are a more justified reason to use 911 than calling to report a nuisance such as a barking dog, loud party or losing your keys.

What do you think? Is calling 911 the best way to report a pothole? Call the WWJ Listener Line with your thoughts at 248-327-2949 or leave your comments below. Note: your comments may be used on the air.


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