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      Residents advise against Saginaw police contract with county sheriff

      Talks continue over whether Saginaw should do away with its police department and outsource services to the county sheriff department.

      The city's public safety committee has advised the city to pursue an 80-officer proposal with the Sheriff William Federspiel, and that the number is sustainable.

      But Sheriff Federspiel has repeatedly said he would rather support Saginaw police with his deputies instead of take over police operations entirely.

      Thursday evening, emotions ran high at a special city council meeting, as retired police officers and residents asked council members to consider other options.

      â??We need to think outside the box and look at every option before we make the wrong move,â?? retired Saginaw police officer Mike Jarabek said.

      Assistant City Manager Phil Ludos warned a contract with the sheriff is the only option. Otherwise, he said, there will be layoffs in both the police and fire departments to balance a multi-million dollar budget shortfall.

      Doug Wortley, president of the Saginaw Police Officers Association, said, "The police officers and firefighters are being held the sacrificial lambs.â??

      â??The majority of the people that I talked to said this really isn't the time for any type of a merger,â?? said Sheriff Federspiel. â??And I work for the people, so I want to do what the people want. I want to make sure that the officers are safe as they can be and they have a tough job right now."

      Federspiel said he plans to meet with Saginaw Actiing Police Chief Brian Lipe and a state police lieutenant to discuss different strategies.