Plymouth Township officials absent from Wayne County ground-breaking ceremony

May 17, 2013  PLYMOUTH VOICE.




Wayne County officials invited civic leaders, media representatives, police officers, firefighters and other guests help to break ground on the new First Responders Memorial in Plymouth Township this week. The site of the memorial, a pleasant 1.5-acre grassy knoll at Hines Drive and Haggerty Road was the location chosen by Robert Ficano, Wayne County Executive, just one half mile from Plymouth Township Hall.

Ficano said he was inspired to do something for the fallen first responders by the loss of a fellow officer, Sgt. William Dickerson, who died in the line of duty in 1991. Ficano said the William Dickerson Correctional facility in Hamtramck was named in honor of the officer.

“It’s so difficult to express the loss of a first responder.” Ficano said.

Ironically, and some might say unfortunately, the location Ficano selected, Plymouth Township, is the place where bully politicians and elected officials have continually chosen to vilify their career fire department, their firefighters and paramedics, all first responders, with disparaging remarks and untruths; notwithstanding forced staff reductions to a level considered by many other communities to be unsafe and senseless.

Maybe that’s the reason not one official representative from the Plymouth Township administration showed up in support of the great women and men this memorial will soon honor. It certainly wasn’t because of the distance; you can easily walk from the township hall to the Hines Parkway location in less than 10 minutes.

Perhaps the conspicuous absence of the township brass was because the officials are embroiled in a nasty lawsuit with the City of Detroit and Wayne County, along with Treasurer Raymond Wojtowicz who was named as a co-defendant. Detroit filed the lawsuit in Wayne County Circuit Court this past April seeking the return of 190-acres of property from Plymouth Township. The property, formerly the site of Detroit House of Corrections or Dehoco, was erroneously sold by the county under provisions of a county tax sale. The township’s supervisor, Richard Reaume, also serves as the township’s chief assessor.

Maybe it’s a good thing the Plymouth Township officials didn’t show up, for it would be the height of hypocrisy to see them pose for the grip and grins knowing they really didn’t give a hoot about public safety.

Several firefighters from Plymouth Township, Northville and Plymouth did show up and were in the audience, sans the township fire chief and police chief. Maybe those two were instructed not to go by their bosses, the controlling and disrespectful township politicians.

It’s most likely a case of saving face.

Anyway, this is really about the first responders, the people who will come into a smoke-filled, dangerous, collapsing building to find those who may be trapped inside, like the Westland firefighter who lost his life last week after apparently being trapped in a burning building in the pursuit of his job, or the policeman who never knows the perils when approaching a deranged person during a traffic stop, armed robbery, or one involved in a domestic dispute. By any definition, these first responders are real heroes, every day.

Regardless, of the negative aspects, it was a meaningful ceremony and it will be a fitting tribute to those who gave their life, one that will last for years to come, long after all the hypocrites are gone.

Funding for the $250,000 memorial is slated to come from the county parks millage. Annual upkeep and maintenance cost are expected to come from an annual 5K Run. Wayne County Parks will host the initial “Heroes on the Hines Half Marathon and 5K Run” on the morning of Oct. 5, when runners will travel from the west end of Hines Park to the memorial site. Construction is scheduled to begin immediately with a September 2013 completion date.

|News Plymouth, Michigan

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