Program pairs police with middle school-age students Play kickball with cops, enjoy pizza and refreshments, Parisi speed school and pool games, win prizes and more. Kids from all around the area, not just Rockford, are invited to have a blast at MVP Sports Club this Friday, Feb. 10 from 8 to 11 p.m. at the seventh annual Rockford Youth Night. The event is a joint venture between local law enforcement to encourage physical activity and build positive relationships between youngsters and public safety officers. Kids in grades six through eight have a great time in a drug-, alcohol- and tobacco-free environment, enjoying hours of sports activities or just hanging out. This year, Rockford Public Safety Officer Aaron Sawyer organized Rockford Youth Night, but he is joined the night of the event by other Rockford officers as well as deputies from the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police troopers. Sawyer said the evening’s entertainment is a positive experience for the kids as well as an event the law officers look forward to. “It’s always a blast. We have as much fun as the kids,” Sawyer said. Dodgeball is one of the favorite sports, but kids are invited to play basketball, volleyball, swim and enjoy pizza (until 10 p.m.). The cost of the event is $6. The Youth Night is one of several community outreach events in which the Rockford Public Safety officers and other local law enforcement participate. There are also National Night Out, a kids’ triathlon, Shop with a Cop, and other programs designed to provide positive interaction between youngsters and law officers. A past organizer of the Rockford Night Out said that it is important to build good relationships between officers and kids as well as adults in communities. “We want kids up and about,” Sawyer said. For more information about Rockford Youth Night, call the Rockford Department of Public Safety at (616) 866-9557 or see page B2 of this week’s Squire.
Kent County Sheriff’s Department
In an effort to communicate with our residents about crimes and events that can impact their lives, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office is offering a new service. Community Alerts is a free service that allows citizens to register for e-mail and text messages from the sheriff’s office. Through this free service, participants can receive information about crimes, scams and other situations so that they can be more vigilant and prepared. Messages can range from wanted persons to crime patterns, to traffic situations to avoid. You can register for Kent County Community Alerts by going to www.accesskent.com/CommAlerts/, or by going to the sheriff’s department webpage at www.accesskent.com/CourtsAndLawEnforcement/SheriffsDepartment/sheriff_index.htm and clicking on the online service: Community Alerts. Once there, register your name, address, e-mail, text provider and the township(s) that you would like to receive information about. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office believes in partnering with its citizens to prevent and solve crime. Community Alerts, along with the sheriff’s department’s crime-mapping at crimereports.com, is a dual approach in keeping citizens informed, aware and prepared.
According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, a crash Friday, Sept. 16 at 6:38 a.m. caused both drivers to be seriously injured. A 2009 Chevrolet Silverado driven by Johnathan Sutton, 38, of Howard City, failed to stop at the intersection of 13 Mile Road and Edgerton Avenue. Sutton was southbound on Edgerton. His vehicle was struck by a 2003 Chevrolet Impala heading west on 13 Mile. Both drivers were seriously injured in the collision and were transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth Hospital. According to the sheriff’s department, Sutton suffered serious internal injuries and the other driver, who is not identified until family members are notified, was critically injured. In addition to deputies from the sheriff’s department and Rockford Ambulance, members of the Algoma Fire Department responded to the scene.
by BETH ALTENA Kent County Sheriff’s Deputy Sgt. Roger Zoppa said a man fleeing authorities but calling on his cell phone threatening to kill himself finally gave away his location. The incident began in Grand Rapids Tuesday, Sept. 6, when the man, estranged from his wife, began the calls. By tracking his cell phone and following clues the suspect offered, police knew the man had left Grand Rapids and was somewhere in Rockford. Zoppa said the Sheriff’s Department took over the hunt as it became apparent the suspect had left Grand Rapids and fled into the county. “We were using a K-9 unit, tracking him in heavy woods in the Blakely and 7 Mile area,” Zoppa said. “Obviously the dog didn’t know what he was tracking,” he added, noting that in most tracking cases the K-9 has a starting point with scent to follow. Zoppa said the suspect gave rescuers clues to his location, such as saying he could see a tin roof, but during the hunt refused to reveal his location. “Some of the cell phones are very accurate, some not so accurate,” Zoppa said. “Sometimes they can pinpoint it right down, others can only tell you the location is between this tower and that one.” Zoppa said during the hunt, deputies at times thought they had the location narrowed to a two-mile and one-mile radius. Finally the suspect told the authorities that he was at Cannonsburg Ski Area. While preparations were being made for the West Michigan Healing Fields less than a quarter mile away, first responders converged on the vehicle of the man, who had injured himself badly. According to Zoppa, as rescue units entered the parking lot off the ski area driveway, the man jumped from his vehicle, ran a short distance, then laid down on the grass. “He had cut his leg pretty badly,” Zoppa said, and said the injury included severing an artery. Zoppa said the man’s wife indicated that he had acted in a similar manner in the past. The incident ended shortly after 4 p.m. “It was a desperate attempt looking for attention.”
A 19-year-old Rockford youth was killed in a two-car accident Thursday evening, August 11, in Solon Township. According to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, Kyle James Alberta, 19, of Cannon Township was traveling westbound on 19 Mile Road in a 2006 Hyundai Sonata at about 6:52 p.m. when he stopped at the stop sign at Algoma. He reportedly then pulled out in front of a northbound vehicle driven by April Marie Proctor, 25, of Kent City. Proctor’s vehicle then struck Alberta’s vehicle on the driver’s side. Alberta was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, Kristin Nicole Martin, 19, of Rockford was transported to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance with possible internal injuries. Proctor was transported to Spectrum Butterworth by AeroMed, with multiple fractures on her right side. Alcohol is not believed to be a factor. The crash is still under investigation. Assisting at the scene was Solon Fire and Rescue, Rockford Ambulance, AeroMed and the Kent County Road Commission.