Even though the weather hasn’t necessarily been looking like it, the calendar says it is spring. As further evidence, the Sheriff’s Marine Division has a boat in the water, so it MUST be spring!
As we turn-the-page on winter, there are a couple thoughts I wanted to share.
Larceny from Automobiles
We have had some recurring problems with larceny complaints in our neighborhoods. Opportunistic thieves have been targeting our neighborhoods late at night and in the early-morning hours. The thieves check for unlocked car doors and when they find an unlocked car, they steal the valuables. On certain occasions, they have used a garage-door opener and gained access to the garage.
Whenever possible, please store your cars inside the garage. If this is not possible, make a point to keep your cars locked and refrain from storing any valuables in your car.
Our deputies are all aware of the problem and we will be spending time in the residential areas. But if you see or hear anything unusual, don’t hesitate to call your local police department. Sometimes, all it takes is a curious homeowner to call the police when they see something that “just doesn’t seem right”.
Our Undersheriff has retired
Over the past winter, our long-serving Undersheriff-Kent Lagerquist has retired. During his 41-year career, Kent served in nearly every position at the Sheriff’s Office. He was my go-to guy and he was an invaluable sounding board for every major decision made here at the Sheriff’s Office.
We are thankful for all the guidance we have had with Undersheriff Lagerquist and, while it is sad to see a senior member of the Department leave, we are happy for him and his family.
I have promoted Captain Elizabeth Darga to the position vacated by Kent. Like Lagerquist, Undersheriff Darga brings a wealth of experience to a crucial position here at the Sheriff’s Office. We know that the Sheriff’s Office is now well-positioned for long into the future.
In May of 2015, our Department became the first police agency in Macomb County to supply our sheriff deputies with NARCAN. An anti-opiod, NARCAN (Naloxone) is a nasal-spray that, if administered quickly can reverse the effect of an opiod overdose. As of the writing of this message, Macomb Sheriff deputies have administered NARCAN on 22 occasions, saving lives each time.
While we wish we didn’t have the drug-overdose problems at all, we feel by equipping our deputies with this antidote, we are helping to achieve our main goal: preserving life.
Our response to drug overdoses does not stop after the application of NARCAN, however. Our deputies will collect evidence at the scene and, if criminal charges are warranted, our Department will act accordingly. While we do not want to discourage people from calling “911” if they have a family member (or friend) who may be overdosing, the Sheriff’s Office has an obligation to investigate illicit drug use and bring criminal charges when appropriate.
Sheriff Trustee Programs
The Sheriff’s Office has always used low-security inmates to perform certain functions at the Sheriff’s Office. Called ”Trustees”, the inmates are used to help keep our patrol cars clean among other things. Under supervision they do some basic maintenance to the Sheriff’s Fleet and they assist at the Animal Shelter. In the spring time, the Sheriff’s Office also accommodates requests from Macomb County communities to bring trustees out to help facilitate clean-up in the parks.
During this past winter, we discovered some contraband in our Jail and that caused us to reconsider the use of inmate labor, and to re-assess our overall security processes. As your Sheriff, I made the decision to temporarily discontinue the use of inmate labor in positions where it was possible for them to later introduce contraband into our Jail. Furthermore, I ordered a thorough “shakedown” of our entire Jail facility. Over a twenty-four hour period, our employees went through the entire Jail on a floor-by-floor basis.
Body Scanner Purchased
Going forward, the County has approved the purchase of a full-body scanner as a preventive measure to detect contraband that inmates may try to smuggle into the Jail. Approved at a board meeting earlier this month, the scanner is a walk-through device that provides a full-body image through which Corrections Deputies will be able to detect drugs or weapons, without the intrusion of a body-cavity search.
When fully-functional, every inmate who goes into the confines of the Jail will be required to pass through the body scanner.
Once the body scanner has been delivered and is in place, the Sheriff’s Office will be able to restore the practice of using inmate labor. The Sheriff’s Office will once again use trustees to help keep the Sheriff vehicles clean and to assist with some maintenance tasks at the Animal Shelter.
Communities wishing to take advantage of the Trustee Spring Clean-up are encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at (586) 469-5151 and they will be accommodated whenever possible.
In closing, we at the Sheriff’s Office are excited about all of the positive changes at our Department.
This spring, please make some time to visit one of the parks in our County. Take a bicycle ride on one of the bike trails, or make plans to attend one of the many summer festivals.
On behalf of all the hardworking men and women of the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office, have a safe and enjoyable spring season!