Michigan Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Sept. 13, 2019
CO John Kamps assisted multiple police and fire agencies with the evacuation of a nine-story apartment complex on fire in the city of Marquette. As Kamps arrived on scene, large amounts of smoke were seen coming from the roof of the ninth floor of the building. Kamps made his way to the ninth floor and started assisting residents in evacuating the building. All residents were evacuated safely, and no injuries were reported.
CO Brian Lasanen investigated a complaint of a person taking rocks from the state-owned shoreline of Lake Superior and landscaping his front yard with the rocks. After a brief interview, the person admitted to taking the rocks from state-owned beaches and landscaping his yard. The subject was ticketed for illegal removal of the rocks.
CO Viau received a call from Iron County Central Dispatch about a lady who had a rattlesnake trapped in a bin in her basement. When Viau arrived at the residence, the woman had the snake captured in a plastic container in her garage. Viau was able to identify the snake as a fox snake, commonly referred to as a pine snake, which rattles its tail when threatened to mimic a rattlesnake. The woman was grateful to the CO for removing the snake from her home. Viau released the snake on a rural piece of state land.
CO Jeremy Sergey was patrolling Lake Michigan when he noticed a vessel operating very erratically. Sergey followed the vessel for some time and watched it circle around another vessel very closely. When Sergey caught up to the vessels, he realized the second vessel was plowing through the waves and couldn’t get up on plane. The operator told Sergey he was taking on water. Sergey directed the first vessel to head to Cedar River and clear the boat launch as a fishing tournament had just ended and there were several people pulling their boats. Sergey escorted the sinking vessel back to the boat launch in case it sank. The vessel and its crew all made it back safely.
CO Stephen Butzin was leaving an area in Fairbanks Township after checking a boater when he observed a vehicle swerving on a roadway. After following the vehicle for a short distance, it came to a stop near an intersection, and pulled off the roadway. Butzin walked up to the vehicle to check on the driver who informed the officer that she had stopped so that she could eat a sandwich. Further investigation found the driver to be Operating While under the Influence (OWI) of marijuana and intoxicants. The driver was arrested for OWI 3rd Offense and lodged at the Delta County jail. The driver also had seven previous convictions of driving while license suspended.
COs Calvin Smith and Cole VanOosten were on their way to a local lake for marine patrol when they came across a truck that was stopped on an angle on the side of a roadway. There was a woman in the driver seat that was unresponsive and slouched over the steering wheel. The officers knocked on the window until the woman responded to them. While speaking with the woman, it became apparent that she was under the influence of alcohol. After failing standard field sobriety tests, she was placed under arrest for OWI and lodged in the Alger County Jail.
CO Chad Baldwin and other COs from District 3 participated in the annual military exercise known as Northern Strike. Baldwin acted as the opposing force while operating his vessel on Mullet Lake in Cheboygan County. Military helicopters targeted Baldwin as he maneuvered his vessel around the lake while trying to evade their weapons systems. The training is unique to the helicopter pilots as it provides them the opportunity to engage a vessel in “real world” scenarios. Baldwin was unsuccessful in evading the military helicopters and was “destroyed” in every scenario. This is a great opportunity for the DNR Law Enforcement Division to cross train with the military.
Sgt. William Webster was patrolling the Ellsworth area when he came across a vehicle stuck in the ditch leaning up against bushes and a small tree. Webster checked the occupants of the vehicle and got them out due to the incline and risk of the vehicle rolling down the embankment. Webster requested a wrecker and directed traffic while the vehicle was extracted from the steep embankment. If it had not been for the bushes and small tree, the vehicle would have rolled down the hill. The operator was from out of town and, while doing a U-turn, the front wheel got sucked down the hill and the driver couldn’t get out.
CO Jon Sklba was contacted by a corporal with the New Mexico Department of Fish and Game. The New Mexico agent and Sklba had worked on an illegal elk case the year prior and the agent advised that some of the charges had gone through the court system and resulted in the Michigan resident having his hunting and fishing rights revoked in New Mexico. Since Michigan and New Mexico are part of the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, the subject’s hunting and fishing rights in Michigan get revoked. A quick search of the subject in Michigan showed that he had already purchased his 2019 deer hunting license. Sklba was able to contact the local resident and serve a letter stating his hunting and fishing rights in Michigan had been revoked due to charges in New Mexico and to recover the deer licenses he had already purchased.
While off duty at his residence, Sgt. Dan Bigger heard a crash in front of his home. Upon going to the front yard, he observed a vehicle sideways in the road and an individual and a bicycle laying in front of it. Bigger ran to the cyclist and it was confirmed that the vehicle had hit him and immediately began administering first aid. Once preliminary observations were complete, Bigger was able to get his patrol truck to block traffic while he continued to monitor and clean out wounds. The subject was turned over for transport to EMS once all wounds were taken care of. The subject contacted Bigger later that night to thank him and advise that he was recovering well.
While on his way to Detroit for a trial, Sgt. Dan Bigger observed smoke on the south side of East US-10. Bigger pulled over as soon as he could and backed up to the location of the smoke. It was a grass fire and was spreading along the expressway and causing impaired visibility. Bigger positioned his patrol truck to slow traffic and move it around the fire. Bigger was able to keep the fire contained into a small area until local fire responded to finish putting the fire out.
In one shift, CO Patrick McManus assisted the Benzie County Sheriff’s Department with multiple calls around the county. First, McManus was asked to assist with a subject who was heavily intoxicated and overdosed on prescription medication while floating down the Platte River. Shortly after that scene, McManus was asked to back up a Frankfort City police officer who stopped a subject that was also highly intoxicated and had a felony parole violation warrant for his arrest. The warrant was related to resisting a police officer. Only minutes after assisting with the subject in Frankfort, Benzie Central Dispatch requested McManus to respond to a domestic dispute call involving the possible use of a weapon. Upon arrival, McManus determined that no assault had occurred, and there was no weapon used at any point during the verbal confrontation with all parties involved.
COs Troy Van Gelderen and Josh Reed were working the Silver Lake Sand Dunes when they saw a subject on top of a dune flagging them down. The COs went to the bottom of the dune and found a subject covered in blood next to a crashed dirt bike. It was determined that the operator had jumped the dune and crashed. The COs provided medical attention and waited for the ambulance to arrive. While waiting for the ambulance, it was determined that the operator had a suspended license and had never transferred the title on his motorcycle when he purchased it. A ticket was issued for the suspended license, and a warning was given for the failure to transfer the title.
CO Charlie Jones was flagged down while crossing the bridge on the Manistee River in Garfield Township of Kalkaska County. Jones was informed of a young girl and her father who were stuck under the bridge against a pillar by the fast water current. Jones threw his rescue rope bag to the young girl and father one at a time and brought them safely to the bank. The two were relieved to be out of the bad situation and thanked Jones.
While patrolling Lake St. Helen, CO Kyle Bader observed a pontoon boat traveling across the lake at full speed. There was a small boy sitting on the bow of the boat, dangling his legs in the water and causing water to spray up onto the deck of the pontoon. Bader stopped the boat and explained the dangerous aspects of the activity. The operator of the boat didn’t really think it was a big deal, even after Bader explained how quickly a small passenger could get pulled into the water and severely injured by the propeller. The man was issued a citation for allowing a passenger to ride on the bow and was given a warning for inadequate safety equipment. The operator didn’t believe he should be responsible for the safety equipment since he rented the boat.
COs Phil Hudson and Ethan Gainforth assisted the Arenac County Sheriff’s Department recover a stolen boat. The boat was discovered by a local fisherman after it had been abandoned by the thieves. The COs used their patrol boat to locate the stolen vessel floating on Saginaw Bay and brought it back to shore. The boat was returned to the rightful owner and the sheriff’s department is investigating the theft.
CO Quincy Gowenlock was patrolling the Shiawassee River State Game Area when he received a call from a Saginaw County deputy of a body found on state land in Swan Creek Township. Gowenlock responded to the area and assisted the deputies with securing the area. A kayaker reported a vehicle submerged in the creek by the state boat launch, of which he could barely see the roof. The dive team responded and extracted an elderly male victim from the driver seat. The incident is under investigation by the Saginaw County Sheriff’s Department.
CO Dan Robinson was patrolling an Isabella County lake and noticed an individual fishing from his dock. As the CO approached, he noticed that the subject had four lines in the water. Robinson asked the subject for a fishing license, which he produced, and asked the man how many lines he had. The man answered “four” and then was asked how many lines he can have in the water; he stated, “three.” He said that three of his poles he was using to target walleye or bass, and the other pole, a handline, he was using to catch bait. A citation was issued for fishing with over three lines.
CO Jay Person was on marine patrol on Wixom Lake with CO Jason A. Smith when a boating accident occurred in Clare County. The officers responded and assisted with the sheriff’s department and EMS after a couple of people being pulled on a tube collided with a docked vessel. Two people were taken to the hospital, one with what appeared to be a compound fracture of both the tibia and fibula.
In Ionia County, CO Jeremy Beavers checked activity at the Webber Dam. Beavers observed a subject fishing near the fish ladder. Shortly after Beavers’ arrival, the subject packed his belongings and headed to the parking lot. Beavers watched the subject as he exited. The subject was carrying a bucket and two bags, along with his fishing gear. As the subject got to the top of the hill, he noticed Beavers but avoided contact. Beavers followed the subject to the parking lot and made contact. The subject showed Beavers his fishing license and opened the bucket, where he had a small number of bluegill. Beavers then asked the subject what was in the bags. The subject opened a bag containing fishing gear. Beavers asked the subject if there was fish in the final bag, which was then opened by the subject, showing three smallmouth bass. Beavers had the subject pull the fish from the bag, and quickly noticed that two were small and the third would be close. After measuring the fish, it was determined the subject was in possession of two smallmouth bass less than 14 inches and cited for the infraction.
CO Anna Cullen was patrolling when she observed multiple people fishing in the Muskegon Causeway. When contacting the individuals, she observed one of the contacts start packing up their stuff and leaving in a rapid manor. Cullen ended her current contact and attempted to contact the individual and his son. It was determined the father spoke rough English, had an expired driver’s license since 2009, and did not have a valid fishing license. The subject was immediately verbally combative and making a scene in the parking lot. Cullen asked for backup to assist in controlling the individual. Since Cullen did not see him actively drive, she advised for him to arrange to have someone pick the vehicle up. A citation was issued for fishing without a license.
While checking the Paw Paw River near Maple Lake, CO Tyler Cole observed a subject net a pike out of the river with a hand net. Cole watched the subject attempt to net more fish for approximately 30 more minutes and made contact. The subject claimed to have been netting for minnows and crayfish. When Cole let the subject know that he had witnessed him net a pike, the subject claimed that he just could not resist when he saw the pike. The pike was released, and a citation was issued to the subject for take fish/illegal method.
COs Shane Webster and Eric Smither responded to a request for assistance. A turkey vulture had flown through a window of a residence and was stuck in the bathroom. The COs were able to escort the bird out of the residence without any further harm.
CO Nathan Beelman and Sgt. Rich Nickols were on patrol in Eaton Rapids when they contacted two anglers who were fishing at Mill Point Park. One angler admitted to not having a fishing license and, while trying to find his driver’s license in his vehicle, the angler stated, “Don’t search the car; there are a lot of drugs in there.” The angler appeared to be intoxicated when he was contacted. The angler had purchased fishing licenses in the past but believed he did not need one now since he was only doing catch-and-release fishing. The angler was issued a citation for fishing without a license and no drugs were located during the search of the car.
COs Shannon Kritz and Nathan Beelman received a call about a deer that had fallen and was trapped in a five-foot-deep window well. The deer had attempted to jump out multiple times resulting in minor injuries. The COs arrived and were able to use a tow strap and loop it around the deer and hoist it out of the well to safety.
COs Tom Peterson and Joe Deppen were participating in a group patrol focusing on slow/no wake on Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River. During the patrol, a call came out over the U.S. Coast Guard emergency radio that a woman in Little Muscamoot Bay was having a medical emergency and was unresponsive. The COs were first on scene and assessed the situation. Through interviewing some of the patient’s friends, it was discovered that she was highly intoxicated. Deppen and Peterson then loaded the individual on board their patrol vessel and transported the individual to shore. While in transit, the COs administered first aid until they reached nearby Harsens Island, where she was further treated by fire and EMS, and then transported to a nearby hospital.
CO Jacob Griffin and Sgt. Jason Becker were checking an area known for ORV trespass issues. The COs encountered 15 subjects using a lake in a gravel pit for fishing and swimming. Through further investigation, most of the subjects had identification from foreign countries and spoke very little English. Griffin checked with U.S. Immigration to verify identities of the subjects. Trespass violations were addressed with the subjects and U.S. Immigration will be following up with the subjects regarding their status in the United States.
CO Brad Silorey investigated a RAP complaint of a subject that was shooting at geese with a pellet gun. Multiple witnesses observed the subject, and local police were able to interview the witnesses and subject the night of the incident. Silorey followed up with one of the witnesses to gather additional information and retrieve a goose carcass that one witness had found the following morning. The goose carcass had what appeared to be an entrance wound on the body and blood on the feathers. The goose was sent to Michigan State University for a complete necropsy and evidence retrieval. The investigation is ongoing.
COs Raymond Gardner and Robert Watson were on patrol at the Raft Off event on Lake St. Clair. While there, Gardner spotted a boat that he had issued a warning to the operator for operating an unregistered vessel and told her not to operate the boat until it was registered on the previous day. Gardner contacted the operator again and found out that she did not get the boat registered yet. She told Gardner that the owner of the boat was unfamiliar with the law that states a documented vessel must also be registered with the state and has a lawyer “looking into it.” Gardner showed the operator the law, explained it again, let her take a picture of it, and then issued her a citation for operating an unregistered vessel.
While on marine patrol on Lake St. Clair, CO Joseph Deppen noticed a vessel weaving in and out of anchored vessels at greater than slow/no wake speed. The driver took off at a high rate of speed and the COs conducted a stop on the water. The driver was having difficulties speaking and appeared to be intoxicated. While contacting the vessel operator, Deppen detected the odor of intoxicants. A PBT was administered after the operator agreed, and the operator blew a 0.174 BAC. The operator was arrested for suspicion of boating under the influence and lodged at the St. Clair County Jail.