RC scrambles after officer crashes car

Medical condition causes officer to crash, total patrol vehicle

ROGERS CITY — Rogers City Police Chief Matt Quaine will begin the search for a new police car and a new full-time officer after an officer lost consciousness and crashed his patrol car last week.

Mayor Scott McLennan said Tuesday the officer experienced a medical condition for the first time last week while driving on Third Street. He said the officer lost consciousness and rear-ended an unoccupied pickup truck that was parked on Main Street, causing the airbags in the police car to deploy.

The officer received minor injuries and was transported by ambulance to MidMichigan Medical Center-Alpena. McLennan said the officer is currently on paid medical leave and will be out of work for an undetermined amount of time, possibly up to six months. The police car , a 2017 Ford Taurus, was totaled.

City officials did not name the officer or say what his medical condition was. But McLennan emphasized that the officer was not drunk and did not fall asleep.

“The only reason he is off is for care of the medical condition while they’re monitoring that medical condition,” he said. “He is in 100% good standing, well thought of, and does a fine job.”

McLennan anticipates the officer will return after medically cleared.

That officer’s absence coincides with the future Quaine’s upcoming retirement, which will leave the city short-handed. The chief plans to retire by the end of the year.

“What we had intended was, when the chief would retire, we would be able to utilize a couple of part-time officers, probably some overtime, and be able to fill that gap for a bit,” McLennan said. “Now, with one full-time-equivalent officer off duty, we wouldn’t be able to pull together enough part-time assistance to get through till March.”

The Rogers City City Council on Tuesday authorized Quaine to begin a candidate search immediately for a new full-time officer, as well as a new patrol car. McLennan said the patrol car was insured and that the city was able to retrieve the equipment, which was not damaged, from inside the vehicle.

“Right now, the Ford Taurus model is no longer available for a police unit,” McLennan said. “Ford has switched over entirely to the Ford Explorer and … we’re looking at a good 20 weeks before we can get a vehicle.”

The mayor said the city has always been safe budgeting $28,000 for a patrol vehicle, but that the Ford Explorer is priced at $35,000. He said officials anticipate insurance will cover some of the expense and that they are taking a closer look at the budget to determine how they will fund the purchase.

McLennan said Quaine will research other options and come back with a recommendation for the council.

“Time is critical,” he said. “We need to get a vehicle coming along here pretty quick — shorter than 20 weeks. So (Quaine’s) going to get started with that right away.”

Crystal Nelson can be reached at cnelson@thealpenanews.com or 989-358-5687.

In other business

The Rogers City City Council on Tuesday also:

∫ established the 4 p.m. July 23 as the filing deadline for nominating petitions to run for City Council in the Nov. 5 election. Candidates can drop their petitions off at City Hall, 193 E. Michigan Ave. Councilmen Gary Nowak and Larry Fuhrman and Mayor Scott McLennan are up for reelection. Council members serve a four-year term while the mayor serves a two year term.


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