Mount Pleasant, MI – The Isabella County sheriff informed residents via a social media post last week that his deputies would be handling non-urgent 911 calls by phone because gas is too expensive.
Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main said that skyrocketing fuel costs meant the sheriff’s department has almost maxed out its $40,000 annual fuel budget for this year, WJRT reported.
“We have exhausted what funds were budgeted for fuel with several months to go before the budget reset,” the sheriff’s department wrote on the department’s official Facebook page in a since-deleted post, according to WOOD.
Gas prices across Michigan have reached more than $5 per gallon in most places.
Isabella County Administrator Nicole Frost told the Detroit Free Press that the sheriff’s department had already spent 96 percent of its annual fuel budget with another three-and-a-half months to go in the fiscal year.
Sheriff Main said that that while deputies will continue to respond to 911 calls for crimes in progress or imminent threats to persons or property, many of the calls they would usually respond to would have to be handled via telephone until the gas fund is replenished, WJRT reported.
“I have instructed the deputies to attempt to manage whatever calls are acceptable over the phone,” the sheriff wrote. “This would be non-in-progress calls, non-life-threatening calls, calls that do not require evidence collection or documentation.”
“I want to assure the community that safety is our primary goal, and we will continue to respond to those types of calls,” the Facebook post read.
Sheriff Main said deputies would continue to conduct routine patrols across the county, WOOD reported.
Saginaw County Undersheriff Miguel Gomez said his department is having the same problem with its fuel budget and that he’s already had to move money around to cover a $30,000 shortfall, WNEM reported.
Undersheriff Gomez said they would pinch pennies where they had to to prevent their department from having to take the same cost-saving measures as Isabella County.