Jan 23, 2002 at 12:00 am

When News Hits heard a Plymouth Township police officer is being stationed at the Johnson Controls Inc. plant in Plymouth, we phoned Debra Gieske, Johnson Controls human resource manager, to find out why. Her reply: “We don’t talk to the press.” Now there’s a PR strategy for you.

Luckily Police Chief Tom Tiderington does talk to the press. He told News Hits the company requested an officer because it intends to idle most of its work force soon. “They are going through some layoffs and restructuring and want to make sure it is a peaceful transition,” says Tiderington. The company, he adds, is reimbursing the department for the cost.

According to James Cotton, UAW Local 174 chairman, the plant, which makes car seats for Ford Motor Company, plans to lay off all but about 60 of its nearly 480 workers on Feb. 1.

UAW communications director Frank Joyce says the union is looking into the matter.

News Hits will keep you posted. After all, we saw how well things worked when Detroit Newspapers contracted with Sterling Heights police to work the beat at the Mound Road plant when workers for the dailies went out on strike way back in the last millennium.

Ann Mullen contributed to News Hits, which is edited by Curt Guyette. He can be reached at 313-202-8004 or [email protected]