Having a great time with lots of law enforcement officers is just one benefit of signing up for this year’s Triathlon to be held at Rockford High School Saturday, July 10 starting at 9 a.m. Kids who participate—with or without their parents—will enjoy a well deserved sense of accomplishment when they have completed the three-part race and earn their medal. “They have a blast,” said Sgt. Kevin Sweeney, a Michigan State Police trooper who helps organize the annual event. “We have had kids as young as two, with their parents.” Kids ages 17 on down are invited to challenge themselves on foot, in the high school pool and in a bike section of the triathlon. Lengths of the race are adjusted for age, and every child who completes the race will receive an engraved medal. T-shirts are covered in the $20 cost to participate if registration is done prior to race day. After-race refreshments will be provided. Registration early guarantees a shirt while 8 a.m. day-of sign ups will not include a shirt. Sweeney said the event is designed to promote physical fitness but also serves as a community outreach for law enforcement. “It is important for them to see us in a positive way, not just out writing tickets or things like that,” he stated. In addition to officers, troopers and deputies, there will be volunteers from the Explorers, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services, Medical Reserve Corps, D.A.R.E. officers and the Civil Emergency Response Team. To find out more visit www.rockktri.com or call Sweeney on the race hotline at (616) 863-0669.
Kent County Sheriff’s Department
Jack A. Stewart received the prestigious Professional Emergency Manager of the Year award by the Michigan Emergency Management Association (MEMA) at the annual MEMA Summit in Traverse City on October 14, 2009. This award recognizes contributions and innovations affecting the advancement of emergency management through training, planning, operations, techniques, programs and leadership. Lt. Stewart is a certified trainer of the Department of Homeland Security for Incident Command System training, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, and Threat and Violence Assessment Teams (TVAT). He is a frequent speaker and trainer at school districts and conferences, and is an adjunct professor for ITT Technical Institute, teaching emergency management principles. He was elected to the position of chairperson for the Region 6 Homeland Security Governing Board, which oversees the coordination of Homeland Security Grants for 13 counties. He is active in the Kent County Disaster Mental Health and Human Services Committee, which addresses personal preparedness education and outreach to numerous nonprofit organizations and special needs agencies. Lt. Stewart has been instrumental in developing relationships with first responder agencies and human service organizations throughout Kent County and the 13-county region. He is the founder and chief organizer of the annual Kent Area Law Enforcement Benefit Hockey Game, now in its 14th season, and is the captain of the Kent Area Law Enforcement hockey team. Sheriff Stelma congratulates Lt. Stewart for his contributions to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office as well as the citizens of Kent County.
Investigators say alcohol was a factor in a one-car crash that happened just after 2 a.m. the morning of Friday, August 7. The Kent County Sheriff Department is investigating the accident that occurred on Kies Street west of Myers Lake Avenue. They say a 2006 Chevy Cobalt was traveling eastbound on Kies when it left the roadway and struck a tree. The driver was Kody Bleich, 21, of Wayland. Bleich was ejected from the vehicle and transported to Spectrum Butterworth by Rockford Ambulance. The passenger was Devin Vandenheuval, 21, of Rockford. He was pinned in the vehicle and later listed in critical condition at Spectrum Butterworth. Aeromed was called to the scene but did not transport the either accident victim. Officer Graham enlisted the assistance of Officer Robinson and Officer Bradley who took several larceny complaints from residents in the Highlands sub-division. The Officers interviewed the six offenders, and were able to solve over twenty car larcenies and one garage breaking and entering. All of the property reported missing was recovered. “The Officers quick action allowed them to clear the cases before some of the victims were aware that their cars had been entered” Chief Jones said. Five of the youths are juveniles, and will be referred to the Family Court for charges. The other youth, an 18 year old, will be arraigned on the charges on a date yet to be determined. Charges will be Breaking and Entering, Larceny from an Auto and Receiving and Concealing Stolen Property. Chief Jones asks that everyone be reminded to lock their cars and garage doors at night. “These types of crimes are crimes of opportunity. If we take the opportunity away the thieves will go somewhere else,” Jones said. If you notice something missing from your car, please call the Rockford Police Department. Several recovered items have not yet been reported stolen.
by MITCH HARVATIN The Kent County Sheriff’s Department (KCSD), Rockford Police/Ambulance, Cannon Township Fire Department and Greater Grand Rapids Safe Kids along with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital participated in the Free Child ID program held at Rockford Christian School, 6060 Belding Rd., on Thursday, July 30, sponsored by the Rockford Masonic Lodge #246. One hundred twenty children received a free dental impression and a CD containing a photo, video, sound-bite and digital fingerprints. Deputy Mandy Trevino from the Kent County Police Department said, “If something ever would have happened to the child, all that parent would have to do is give the officer that disc and we’d be able to download it right into our vehicles and get that information out.” “It makes me feel safer,” said Sherry Morrison, whose son and niece attended the event. Joseph Morrison, 11, thought that the teeth impression bite didn’t taste good. Other activities were included for that day, including children who got their heads sized for bike helmets. Those whose helmets didn’t fit received a new helmet courtesy of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. After fingerprints were scanned and teeth impressions made, the kids could go visit the police officers on their horses, boats, quad runners and the Mobile Crisis Command Unit that is owned by the KCSD, but used by other counties as well. “Just so the community knows what tools we have,” said Trevino. According to the Klaas Kids Foundation website, “85 percent to 90 percent of the 876,213 persons reported missing to America’s law enforcement agencies in 2000 were juveniles [persons under 18 years of age].”
by MITCH HARVATIN The Kent County Sheriff’s Department (KCSD) and Cannon Township have teamed up to fight crime overnight. Cannon Township has hired the KCSD to patrol extra hours after township officials saw a growth in crime productivity, especially in the Lake Bella Vista area. “We see a spike in calls during the summer time, and they will drop in September,” said Lieutenant Scott Brown of the KCSD. Brown added, “The citizens need to help us out. They need to close their garage doors at night. They need to make sure they lock their cars, their windows, their houses and, if they are financially able to, they need to keep their lights on outside overnight. They need to make it difficult for someone to rob their house.” He goes on to say that minors usually break in to garages to steal alcohol from refrigerators. Cannon Township taxpayers are paying $13,327.36 to keep an extra officer in the township between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m., not just patrolling Lake Bella Vista, which Brown clearly addressed. “If we receive a call somewhere else in that township, we go,” he said. According to a press packet from Cannon Township Clerk Bonnie Blackledge, the KCSD conducted 76 property checks/foot patrols, 50 traffic stops, 10 general assigned complaints, nine suspicious persons/situations, four minors in possession of alcohol, one drug violation and one drunk-driving arrests between 12 a.m. and 4 a.m. on just two days, May 22 and June 30. Other than conducting regular traffic stops, the KCSD responded to vandalism calls, larceny from an auto, stalking, alcohol-minor in possession, and registered sex offender contact all in section nine, which is primarily Lake Bella Vista. The KCSD assigns one officer to Cannon Township until 4 a.m. four days a week. The other three days a week, the KCSD patrols until midnight. On the days they are not patrolling or it’s past midnight, the KCSD’s district car patrols a wide area of northern Kent County, not just Cannon Township, but will respond to calls in the township. Brown wants to make sure residents in Lake Bella Vista know that if they see a crime in progress to call 9-1-1. If it’s not an emergency, call the KCSD’s non-emergency number at (616) 336-3113. […]