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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2010

Dundee police department gets veteran staff

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

DUNDEE, Mich. - The timing to launch the Dundee Police Department was perfect.

As village officials were preparing to create a department of part-time officers, many veteran deputies with the Monroe County Sheriff's Department were opting to retire.

The exodus of deputies from the department gave the fledging department a pool of experienced certified officers to hire, said Chief Dave Uhl, who was hired in May after he retired from the sheriff's office.

Chief Uhl said that after word got out that the village was re-establishing a police force, retired deputies and other experienced lawmen inquired about working for the department.

"I don't think we posed or advertised for anyone," he said. "We could pick and choose."

Since taking over in the spring, Chief Uhl has employed some familiar faces to staff the department.

Among them are Dave Kottke, a retired lieutenant with the sheriff's office and Tom Redmond, who retired from the department after nearly 28 years of service.

Officer Kottke was district commander of the Bedford Township substation and Officer Redmond is certified as a fire investigator and medical examiner investigator.

"There is not much that can happen in the village as far as crime that Tom hasn't already handled," Chief Uhl said.

Also joining the department are retired Monroe city police Officers Brad Ansel and John Ouellette.

Chief Uhl said the 10 part-time officers in the department collectively have nearly 400 years of experience in law enforcement.

The village formally acted to create a police department in February by cutting loose a Monroe County deputy.

That began a several-month process of severing ties with the Monroe County Sheriff's Department.

Under the contract with the sheriff's office, which went back three decades, the village paid 80 percent of the salaries and benefits for three deputies.

Village President Tod O'Lone said the decision to create a village police department grew out of the desire to save money.

The village owns the police vehicles that were used by the sheriff's deputies as well as other equipment in the substation that is housed in village offices.

After the village gets past the initial start-up costs, Mr. O'Lone said he believes the village can operate the department for much less than the nearly $315,000 it paid each year to the sheriff's office while providing as good or better service.

Village Manager Patrick Burtch said the savings can be achieved because the village is not obligated to cover the officers' health insurance.

Last Friday marked the one-month anniversary of the village ending ties with the sheriff's office and launching the department.

Chief Uhl said he has encouraged officers to get out of their patrol cars as much as possible to talk and mingle. "We are really trying to get the officers involved in the community," he said. "There has been a lot of positive feedback."



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