Bay City Police front desk closed six days a week

If you want to speak to a police officer in Bay City you'll likely have to call 911.

That's because this summer the department shut down its front desk except for one day a week.

A call to the Bay City Police Department answers with a recorded message, "Please be advised that due to a reduction in staff, the Bay City Police Department only takes calls on Wednesday, between the hours of 7am and 3pm and will not accept non-emergency calls at any other time."

For general questions, the recording says to go to the Bay City website. On that website it says, "It is okay to call 911 if you need a police officer but do not feel that the situation is an emergency. If you do not feel comfortable calling 911 you may contact the complaint desk at 892-8571 during complaint hours. That number will take you back to the recording that says, "If you need to make a criminal compliant or if you need to speak with a shift supervisor, please call 911."

Bay City Police Chief Michael Cecchini says, "This is not what we want to do, but we have to live within our means and the electorate really made a decision on the amount of service they want for their police department."

He says cuts forced drastic actions, which include cuts to the front desk. Cecchini says, "I really need four to five, and that's if you look at police departments our size, they have six to 10 clerical people working for them. I have two."

Bay City resident Richard Petrimoulx says, "I'd rather have an officer outside making sure everyone's safe than stuck behind a desk."

Joseph Petrimoulx, from Bay City says, "It's kind of a shame because it puts more strain on the ones who do work in the office, but with the way the cuts are. Everybody's making sacrifices where they can."

The remaining clerical staff must still file court reports, crime statistics, do payroll, and provide customer service Wednesdays for eight hours.

"We want to provide good service and we want the desk open more, but we simply do not have the personnel to do that," Cecchini says. He also says if his department is cut further he may have to shutdown the front desk completely.

Cecchini says there's been a slight increase with 911 calls since closing down the desk six days a week.

The police department considered asking the city for a millage to help with the cuts. However, it decided against it.