Ypsilanti Citizen News Ypsilanti Cycle

City Council approves all mayor's re-appointments
By Dan DuChene
Jun. 16, 2010   ·   3:42 a.m.

Jone Coleman, president of downtown business LookInTheAttic, shares his thoughts with City Council about the discussion and procedure taken to pass mayoral re-appointments, which he was being considered for the Downtown Development Authority.

After much procedure, Ypsilanti City Council approved six mayoral re-appointments to city boards and committees Tuesday, including the two postponed from earlier...read more

Council postpones two reappointments
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   4:57 p.m.

Two of Ypsilanti's volunteer board members were not reappointed on schedule Tuesday night, owing to a 4-2 vote by City Council to delay the appointments until...read more

Downtown properties to be rehabilitated
By Mark Tower
Jun. 4, 2010   ·   10:40 a.m.

The three properties located at 120, 122 and 124 West Michigan Avenue in downtown Ypsilanti will soon be rebuilt into commercial and office space and loft apartments, thanks to a planned $1.7 million investment by developers.

Three recently-vacated properties in downtown Ypsilanti, two of them condemned, will soon be renovated owing to recent purchase by a local development company and...read more

Ypsilanti Township authorizes litigation against Liberty Square
By Mark Tower
May. 28, 2010   ·   6:53 p.m.

Many of the homes in the Liberty Square complex on Grove Street in Ypsilanti Township are already boarded and ready for foreclosure sale. All 151 units, some of which are still occupied, will be condemned Tuesday, Ypsilanti Township has resolved.

Residents living in the Liberty Square complex of townhouses will see a sticker appear on their homes Tuesday, when the Ypsilanti Township Building Department places...read more

Ford plant granted tax exemption by township
By Mark Tower
May. 24, 2010   ·   5:44 p.m.

Ford Motor Company's Rawsonville Plan, located at the intersection of Textile and Bridge Roads in Ypsilanti Township, will soon be the new home for production of Ford's Electric Focus batteries, formerly produced in Mexico.

New machines and equipment will soon be wheeled into Ford's Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti Township as it begins manufacturing a line of batteries for the new global...read more

YPD to save jobs by assigning additional officer to LAWNET

Facing $520,000 in cuts, YPD was able to save two jobs from layoffs by transferring and additional officer to LAWNET and eliminating a vacant lieutenant position. Additional savings came from transferring dispatch duties to the county. Photo by Dan DuChene

Facing $520,000 in cuts, YPD was able to save two jobs from layoffs by transferring and additional officer to LAWNET and eliminating a vacant lieutenant position. Additional savings came from transferring dispatch duties to the county.
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Undercover task force funded through drug forfeiture funds

By Adrienne Ziegler
Feb. 26, 2010    ·    11:37 a.m.


With Ypsilanti budget deficits skyrocketing in 2011, the city planned to cut eight officers from the Ypsilanti Police Department on July 1.

However, YPD will be able to save two jobs by assigning an additional officer to a multi-jurisdictional task force known as the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team (LAWNET). Currently, YPD already has one officer working with the task force, who will stay on through 2011.

“We’re able to keep some officers in there,” said Police Chief Amy Walker. “If we weren’t able to fund it, then the LAWNET program would have to be pulled.”

Additionally, YPD will not fill the lieutenant position formerly held by Walker, meaning only five officers will be laid off. The final count leaves YPD with 29 sworn officers.

Another $89,000 in savings is likely to be realized through the city's decision to transfer dispatch services to the county, an agreement that allowed the dispatchers working in Ypsilanti to continue working for the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office.

LAWNET is funded through federal and state grants as well as drug forfeiture funds. It’s an undercover unit that focuses on enforcing drug laws and narcotics trafficking throughout Washtenaw and Livingston counties.

The task force has two separate components in each county. LAWNET officers work across jurisdictional lines to investigate tips about the sale or use of any illegal substances from marijuana and prescription drugs to cocaine and heroine.

When officers arrest someone for a drug offense, they try to get further information about where the drugs came from.

“The hope is that they are going to get you to the person who they purchased the drugs from,” said Michigan State Police Director First Lieutenant Monica Yesh, who commands the LAWNET task force. “You want to get to the highest person on the chain.”

LAWNET allows law enforcement officers from 11 different area police and sheriff departments to share information, resources, training, and equipment across jurisdictional boundaries.

“By putting a body at LAWNET, you’re getting more personnel and more service for your community,” Yesh said, noting that by offering personnel to LAWNET, the city is able to cover more ground in the fight against drugs than they would be able to on its own.

“I believe it’s an excellent thing for Ypsilanti. Instead of trying to make your own drug team, you’re combing resources together with other departments,” she said. “I don’t believe any one department can tackle any one issue in and by itself.”

Walker said LAWNET has been an effective tool against narcotics, which do not observe the same field boundaries that law enforcement does.

“Sharing information is probably one of the most important components to it,” she said. “This has been very successful in the fight against drugs.”

Yesh declined to comment on how many officers are involved with the LAWNET task force because they are an undercover unit.

She also declined to comment on the drug forfeiture budget since they could not estimate how much money they would receive this year.

She said drug forfeiture is one way that law enforcement deters the sale of illegal drugs.

“What you’re trying to do is discourage people from selling narcotics by taking their proceeds,” she said. “You hope that by taking the profits that they make, it will stop them from selling narcotics.”

Asset forfeiture can include the seizure of anything from real estate and vehicles to cash. Proceeds from forfeiture go back into drug prevention and narcotics enforcement.

Yesh also declined to comment on where LAWNET primarily works.

“When we get a call or a tip from Ypsilanti, then we go work that tip,” she said.

Yesh did say the task force maintains accountability through quarterly meetings with a board of directors composed of representatives from each department.

“We certainly need everybody’s eyes and ears in the fight against crime,” Walker said.

To make a tip to LAWNET, call (734) 994-8881. Tips can be left anonymously.

Related article:
City eyes 11 layoffs in public safety



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