Police Union Says No Prior Knowledge of Staffing Shortages at Saginaw PD

The Saginaw Police Department is again experiencing a staffing shortage after only one patrol sergeant showed up to work the evening of Friday, July 17.

The Saginaw County Sheriff’s Department and the Michigan State Police provided additional coverage of the city of Saginaw that evening, answering 911 calls as needed. In a news conference Saturday, July 18, Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel said there was no delay in response time to 911 calls. Both agencies have said they will continue to assist with coverage as the staffing problems continue.

A statement from the Saginaw Police Officers Association says despite an overwhelming vote of no confidence in the leadership of Police Chief Bob Ruth on May 28, it had no prior knowledge of Friday’s or the Monday, July 20 lack of staffing.

The union called the vote after concerns with members of the police force regarding COVID-19 precautions were dismissed. The department has also been operating without a police contract since June 2019. The union says, as of Monday, there has been no effort on the part of Ruth to address the the concerns which prompted the no confidence vote.

Union officials say the vote is not the root cause of the shortage and there is no organized effort on the part of the union to create the shortage.

In a statement Monday afternoon, the city said it is investigating why so many officers have been calling in for their shifts.  They said despite the shortages, residents can be assured the city is safe and assistance is available. “We want residents to be confident that the streets are being patrolled and if there is a need to call 911, they will have a prompt response time, regardless of what uniform the responding officer is wearing,” said Ruth.

Saginaw City Manager Tim Morales said “The city is appreciative of our ongoing partnership with the Michigan State Police and the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the cooperation we receive from our neighboring communities. Law enforcement is a vital function for local government and we are proud to assist our neighbors, and are thankful for their assistance at this time.”