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Midwest deputies will stop responding to non-emergency calls in person due to high gas prices

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Mitchell Willetts

The Charlotte Observer

A Michigan sheriff is ordering his deputies to stop responding in person to non-emergency calls due to “pain at the pump,” news outlets reported.

Isabella County Sheriff Michael Main announced the measure in a June 7 Facebook post that has since been deleted — apparently along with all previous posts on the department’s page.

“We have exhausted what funds were budgeted for fuel with several months to go before the budget reset,” Main’s post said, according to TV station WDIV. “I have instructed the deputies to attempt to manage whatever calls are acceptable over the phone,” including “non-life-threatening calls,” “non-in-progress calls,” and calls that don’t “require evidence collection or documentation.”

The move comes amid soaring gas prices. Many Americans are feeling the pinch, and Main says his department is not immune.

As of June 9, the national average cost for a gallon of regular gasoline is $4.970, according to AAA. The cost is steeper in Michigan — one of the most expensive states to fill up — at $5.214 per gallon, on average.

A number of factors are at play, experts say. For one, the volatile situation in Europe caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has impacted crude oil supply, McClatchy News reported. At the same time, fuel producers are struggling to keep up with demand from U.S. motorists.

In the post, Main stressed that his deputies will continue to patrol the county, and will drive to 911 calls that “need to be managed in person,” the Detroit Free Press reported.

“I want to assure the community that safety is our primary goal, and we will continue to respond to those types of calls,” Main said in the post, according to WJRT.

It’s not clear why the post was deleted.

McClatchy News reached out to the Isabella County Sheriff’s Department for comment.

With the national average for a gallon of gas hovering close to $5, energy experts say “we’re in unprecedented territory,” NPR reported. But relief could possibly be on the way, as oil and gas companies are aiming to boost production, thereby increasing supply and bringing costs at the pump back down to earth.

©2022 The Charlotte Observer. Visit charlotteobserver.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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