Citizens urged to be cautious, report to law enforcement The Michigan State Police (MSP) and other law enforcement agencies are asking citizens to be on the lookout for indications of illegal marijuana growing this summer. If you come across suspicious activity or an area that may be an illegal marijuana grow site, immediately notify law enforcement officials. These marijuana grow sites are often connected to drug trafficking organizations (DTO), which are highly organized criminal enterprises trafficking in multiple illegal narcotics. For several years, DTOs have established large-scale marijuana growing operations on public lands in many western and southern states. In recent years DTOs have been targeting national and state forests, public and private lands, including large tracts of mining and paper company lands, in the Upper Midwest. In 2010, there were confirmed DTO growing operations in Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. These grow sites will contain anywhere from hundreds to thousands of plants. “Our public lands are intended for recreational purposes, like hunting, camping, fishing and mushrooming,” said D/F/Lt. Dave Peltomaa, Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program coordinator. “These illegal marijuana grow sites are a potential threat to public safety and the chemicals and pesticides used in their cultivation are harmful to the environment. We are asking citizens to report any marijuana grow site on public land to law enforcement as soon as possible.” DTOs operate in the same areas that you live, work and recreate. The public plays a significant role in helping law enforcement stop this significant and growing problem. However, citizens should take caution when encountering potential grow sites and those people involved with them. Due to the high-dollar value of processed marijuana, DTOs have shown a willingness to use deadly force to protect their crops. Booby traps and cameras have also been found at marijuana grow sites. “If you come across a marijuana grow site, make note of where the plot is located, leave the way you came in, and call the police,” Peltomaa added. Remember to pay attention to the people and activity around you. Possible indicators of an illegal marijuana grow site can include: • seeing vehicles or people in unusual locations or at odd hours. • repeatedly seeing vehicles or people in an area with no obvious […]
Michigan State Police
Bill to be considered to eliminate texting while driving by MITCH HARVATIN Student reporter State legislators are pushing a ban on texting while driving. If the law doesn’t pass, Michigan could lose up to 25 percent of its road funding in the near future. Statistics aren’t clear on exactly how many accidents are caused by using cell phones to talk, text or e-mail while driving, because in most accidents the individuals involved aren’t forthcoming in telling the police officer that they were using a cell phone while driving. Police cannot go through the driver’s phone without a search warrant. In a 2008 MSNBC report, six states have bans on talking, texting, e-mailing or gaming on an electronic device while driving. Those states include Alaska, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Jersey, Washington and District of Columbia. Sixteen other states are considering passing this ban, and Michigan is one of them. According to Lawyers.com, “In Michigan, Senator ‘Buzz’ Thomas (D-Detroit) introduced Senate Bill 783, which would stick drivers caught reading, typing or sending text messages on a cell phone or electronic wireless device, such as a BlackBerry, with a $100 fine. The punishment would be a secondary offense, meaning police could only ticket drivers for violating the rule if they were pulled over for another reason. The bill was last referred to the Committee of Energy Policy and Public Utilities.” The Rockford Squire placed a call into Sen. Thomas’ office, but has not heard back from him yet. The National Transportation Safety Board investigated a Los Angeles Metrolink commuter train crash last fall, which left 25 people dead and 128 people injured. Published reports conclude that the train engineer was texting. That train ran a stop signal and crashed into an oncoming freight engine. Michigan State Police and local law enforcement agencies cannot write a ticket for texting while driving, but can issue a ticket for careless driving, which would include the driver weaving in and out of their lane or speeding. Research has shown that driving response while texting is as bad as while driving drunk. Lieutenant Chris McIntire, Post Commander for the Michigan State Police in Rockford, agreed. He feels very confident that this bill will be passed in the near future. “My troopers know it […]
by BETH ALTENA First Lieutenant Chris McIntire is back where he started his career with the Michigan State Police. The new commander of the Rockford Post first worked as a trooper here after graduating from the Michigan State Police training academy in Lansing in 1993. In between he has enjoyed a gamut of duties and adventures. McIntire is pleased with the position, which he said allows him to interact with the public, work closely with the Michigan Department of Transportation and visit local townships to find out where law enforcement needs to concentrate more effort. The married father of three girls comes with many bona fides. After working as a trooper here, in 1997 he went on to work in-and later ran-a narcotics unit. While working that assignment, he grew his hair out to shoulder-length and spent his time “buying dope in the seediest parts of the city.” (Not this city.) McIntire is also a graduate of the FBI’s law enforcement program at Quantico, Virginia. There, a grueling military-style training regimen brought him into contact with law enforcement officers from all over the world. McIntire was at Quantico for three months taking Masters-level courses. He told of the fascination participants from Africa had with the January snowfall. He said the Africans were out in the snow, trying to make snowmen, but had no idea how. “Some of us had to go out and show them how to roll the snow into balls because they had never seen snow before,” he said. McIntire also worked for one and a half years in Ionia on a fugitive team and in Newaygo as a sergeant. In 2004 he was the section commander of a narcotics unit. After spending the last two years commuting from Sparta to Lansing, he was asked if he would return to the Rockford Post as commander. During his years in law enforcement, McIntire has had many moments of satisfaction. He said the desire to help people is the reason he joined the profession. He shared one encounter while a trooper here in Rockford that he said still warms his heart. An older woman living on Bostwick Lake was terrified because she kept getting hang-up calls. She thought she was being stalked. McIntire said he […]
The Michigan State Police (MSP) is pleased to announce that Sergeant Kevin Sweeney of the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division has been selected to represent the State of Michigan at the 2009 Law Enforcement Torch Run Final Leg for Special Olympics. The Torch Run Final Leg will begin in northern Idaho and cover multiple cities, towns and communities en route to the opening ceremonies of the World Winter Special Olympics in Nampa, Idaho on Feb. 7. The run will include 100 runners from around the world – one runner from each state and one from 50 other countries. Runners for the Final Leg are all current or retired law enforcement members who were selected based on their established dedication and commitment to Special Olympics and the Torch Run. Each runner must be able to maintain a pace of 10 minutes per mile for three miles, as well as have the stamina to run five miles over two or more intervals during the course of a day. Sweeney has been an active supporter of the Special Olympics and the Torch Run for 11 years. He enlisted with the MSP in 1995, and is a graduate of the 113 Trooper Recruit School. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Michigan State University. He resides in Rockford with his wife, Teri, and their four children. Sweeney received the MSP Trooper of the Year Award in 2000 and the West Michigan Crime Practitioner of the Year Award in 2002. He is currently assigned to the Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division where he serves as Citizen Corps Coordinator.