- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 29, 2014

GAINES, Mich. (AP) - As he walks into his office, the man affectionately known as “Gramps” grabs his mail and prepares for another day as guardian of the 400 people who live in the village of Gaines.

It’s a job that Gaines Police Chief Tim Bradshaw has done day in and day out for years.

Alone.

But after spending five of the last 14 years as a one-man operation, the village is considering a move that could make that approach a thing of the past, according to The Flint Journal ( http://bit.ly/1rcfEmL ).

With last year’s one-vote victory for a new police millage in surrounding Gaines Township, the village has gotten overtures to combine its one-man department with the two-man department that patrols the township.

Bradshaw has been with the village police department for 14 years. When he started the department had two officers but has been on his own the last two years after the village decided it only needed one person.

Since then Bradshaw has patrolled part-time, working four to five days a week, with state police, sheriff’s deputies and Gaines Township police picking up the slack when he goes off duty.

He said he knows everyone’s face in town and is well-known by everyone in the community.

“I may not know everybody by name, because I’ve never been good with names,” said Bradshaw, 66. “But I know a lot of people by face.”

When asked about village crimes, it’s a well-known how everyone gets along.

“Well that’s easy, zero,” Gaines Village Clerk Luanne Kondel said. “We usually don’t have a whole lot of trouble around here.”

Bradshaw attributes the little crime to a great community and personal relationships with police.

“I’ve got the people trained that someone’s going to jail if they make me do paperwork,” he joked.

So, why keep the policing in the small community? As Bradshaw said, it’s all about allowing people to feel at home.

“It gives them a little bit of security when they see me,” he said.

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