SHERIFF'S CORNER: Recent updates and ventures

Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin

Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin

Courtesy photo

THE BLESSING OF THE BIKES

A BIG THANKS again goes out to the residents of Baldwin and the surrounding area. We appreciate your kindness, patience and understanding during the largest weekend event in Lake County.  

The road closure went extremely well, and that was only due to our partners in public safety. This is the 50th time this has been done, so it isn't a surprise. 

We appreciate you taking that minor inconvenience when you consider how this event benefits the community as a whole. 

We also appreciate all of the positive comments and support you have shown. 

We also want to thank our partners who took time out of their day to keep "everyone" safe as well as this who contributed with the success of the event. As you had to drive a few minutes out of your way, these people stood in the sun for at least six hours ... most for free.  

  • North West Realty
  • Pleasant Plains Fire Department
  • Lake Township Fire Department
  • Reed City Fire Department
  • Carr Settlement Fire Department
  • Leroy Fire Department
  • Webber Fire Department
  • Yates Fire Department
  • Newaygo County Sheriff's Office
  • Mason County Sheriff's Office
  • Oceana County Sheriff's Office
  • Wexford County Sheriff's Office
  • Manistee County Sheriff's Office
  • Osceola County Sheriff's Office
  • Michigan State Police
  • Lake County Central Dispatch
  • USFS Forest Service
  • Lake County Chamber of Commerce
  • ...and those two dudes that cooked the food.

We have come so far these past few years from where the Lake County Sheriff's Office once was. It was on an island that wanted to keep to itself, rather working alone instead of working with outside agencies.  Never before have we had deputies from six other area sheriff's come assist us in an event. To only add that these departments paid their deputies overtime to be here to assist and help our community.  

NEW ROAD DEPUTIES

I am proud to announce the recruitment of two new deputies right out of the West Shore Community College Police Academy.  One was sponsored by the county who was a reserve deputy and courthouse security, and the other worked for us as an intern this past year. Out of the nine academy graduates, we were the only agency to have two that were coming to work for us. 

AGENCY ACCREDITATION

Always trying to set or be above the standard, we are soon to start the process of agency accreditation through the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police and the Michigan Sheriff's Association. Agency accreditation is a way of adopting established policies that model current standards of excellence and will develop effective procedures within the sheriff's office as well as improving on how we provide services. By modifying our policies, it provides us with an avenue to further success when it comes to criminal investigations, liability, and the ability to succeed with grants that require our organization to have. This involves about 108 policy changes and the process takes around two years to complete 

STATEWIDE MARINE DEPUTY ACADEMY

As a constant effort to always improve on the services that we provide, I recently attended and graduated from the 2022 State Marine Deputy Academy conducted at the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office. 

Now, I have no plan to start 'personally' doing marine patrols on a regular basis (since my skin burns when the sun reflects off the snow in the winter) however, the intent is to start and host our own annual state marine academy here in Lake County. Why not, since we are "Lake" County. Attending this training gave me a model to develop our own program.

This will be open to any law enforcement agency who wants to send an officer(s) to get this certification. Plus it will generate needed revenue for the LCSO Recreation Division, which primarily operates off limited funds in the way of DNR and USFS grants and private donations ... with very little from the actual county budget or general fund.

Currently, Ottawa County is the only agency that conducts this academy ... so, we will be only adding to the options for state training. One thing for sure, we will conduct our academy in warmer weather. LOL

I also think it makes a difference when the sheriff personally gets involved with training, while being out there doing the things that are asked of my deputies. 

Providing services should go beyond enforcement and responding to complaints. There needs to be positive things like offering training, creating community programs, and working with local charities. Being unorthodox and thinking outside the box is really the key.  There is always room to improve the services we provide. Not police reform, but police improvement. 

ADDITIONS TO THE EXPLORER PROGRAM

During the COVID fiasco, we had to suspend the program, but resumed it after the first of the year. We have just finished our initial training of our new class of sheriff explorers. There is approximately 12 new cadets ready to work events and help within the community. 

APPROVED GRANTS

We have been steadily working on alternate ways of funding to provide services. In the last 12 months, we have received close to $130,000 in the way of new grants to go toward marine patrol, new AED's, simmunition, accreditation, body cams, Power DMS, supervisory training, and reimbursement for COVID expenses to the jail.  

People can talk all day about what they think is going on. Haters gonna hate, but like I said before, the proof is in the product and the results.  

— This information is provided to you for clarification on specific laws, and not legal advice. This is not to be construed as a personal opinion, agreement or disagreement of any specific law. Topics covered are for educational and informational purposes only. As needed, excerpts from other articles are used for reference and/or content. If you have any questions on any specific topic, you may always email me your questions to rmartin@co.lake.mi.us.