INGHAM COUNTY, Mich. — The Ingham County Sheriff's Office lost more than a dozen volunteers after an entire unit turned in its uniforms.
"This has always been the case for like the last 40 or 45 years. It's just now we're putting pen to paper to make sure people know," said Sheriff Scott Wrigglesworth.
Monday night, heavy rescue unit volunteers were asked to sign a liability form which spells out what happens in case of an injury.
The form says if a volunteer gets hurt, their insurance, not the county's would be responsible for the cost.
None of the volunteers signed the form.
"The county will take care of any incidental expenses with co-pays or deductibles or that kind of stuff, any out-of-pocket stuff," said Sheriff Wrigglesworth.
A former heavy rescue member, who wanted to remain anonymous, said many volunteers were upset by this.
"To stand in harm's way and have the sheriff's department turn their back if we happen to get hurt and have the members be on their own," he said.
This all came about because a member of the heavy rescue unit was injured in January.
He was responding to multiple crashes when a semi rear-ended him.
"As we did research around the state, we contact a lot of law enforcement agencies and we were one of very, very few that didn't have the form. So this is almost like us catching up with the times," said Sheriff Wrigglesworth.
The sheriff's office has 45 volunteers total; 15 were part of the heavy rescue unit.
"In the meantime, we'll have to rely on our mutual aid partners of law enforcement in the county and both township fire departments and other fire departments God forbid we have one of these instances and we need extra help," said Sheriff Wrigglesworth.
Sheriff Wrigglesworth hopes making a few changes to the form will entice some volunteers to come back.
If not, the department will have to start recruiting.
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