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Beline Obeid

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To the Editor:

I would like to express my anger over the Opinion editorial, "City residents misinformed on 911 study," published in the May 23 issue of the Grosse Pointe News.

The editorial has misinformed and insulted City residents more than any of the fliers or people the article unjustifiably and maliciously insults. I have read all the fliers that have been distributed, and none of them mislead residents as the article claims.

The editorial also grossly oversimplifies a very complex issue. "What is being asked to be studied is whether one dispatcher can handle the telephone and radio traffic for three small cities during overnight hours," is a very simple question, but unfortunately not the question at all! It is far more involved and complex than that.

The editorial further goes on to criticize and even slander City residents who are exercising their rights and duties as citizens to speak out when they feel strongly about an issue. It is the right and duty of citizens to express their concerns to their elected officials who are supposed to represent them, yet the article calls this "unnecessary."

The editorial slams citizens who, on their own time and at their own expense, try to get what they (and obviously many others) feel is an important issue on the forefront before it is too late (like the size of the behemoth bath house at the city park upset residents after it was built). The article further goes on to condemn an outstanding and very dedicated public safety officer, John Mikesell, for doing the same.

There is no other person as informed on the issues (outside of members of the City Public Safety Department) of this proposed consolidation as John Mikesell. He did not use scare tactics, he used facts. I don't know where the Grosse Pointe News received the information from, but it is a fact that responding from the Grosse Pointe Park lock-up to an emergency in the City would take considerably longer than the 30 to 90 seconds it takes from the City lock-up (and by the way, for officer safety, the standard is two officers to transport and process). It takes at least two minutes just for an officer (at emergency speed) to be let out of the Park lock-up, retrieve their weapons from the security lock-box, and exit the security garage.

Now they only have to travel a couple miles to get to the closest border of the City. Yet a fire quadruples in size in less than a minute, and it takes a car thief about 90 seconds to break into a car, get it started, and drive off.

Also, thanks for slamming the City Public Safety Department on our lock-up. Another "misinformation" is that our lock-up is a "storage room." The City's lock-up, although not as new as the Park's, is one of the more "state of the art" detention facilities in the Pointes. Yes, it is much smaller, but in the past 16 years there has not been a single escape or suicide in our lock-up (which was designed as a holding cell for one or two prisoners).

I think the Grosse Pointe News has grossly neglected its duty as a member of the free press to correctly inform readers of the facts, and has moved dangerously close toward the old term "yellow journalism" in criticizing citizens for exercising their rights and for caring so much.


Public Safety Officer

City of Grosse Pointe

May 30, 2002

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