police

Benzie Central Schools got a cop in the district in January. The position is funded by a county millage and will last four years.
Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

This week on Points North, learn about how one northern Michigan county tackled school safety by putting police officers in their schools. Plus, head out to Lake Leelanau to watch ice boaters enjoy the final days of the season.


Morgan Springer / Interlochen Public Radio

After 17 students were shot and killed in Parkland, Florida last year, Benzie County wanted to make their schools safer. They decided to address that by putting cops in their schools, and taxpayers agreed to pay for it. That sounds like a good thing but it turns out it was more complicated than it seemed.

 

Benzie County Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Miller started in the schools in January. He serves 1,400 students in the Benzie County Central Schools district and deals with any criminal activity.

Some lawmakers in Lansing want to finish what they started last year when it comes to police taking property.

JJ, Flickr

Police have stopped two kilograms of cocaine from being sold in northern Michigan. The cocaine was allegedly mailed from an address in Texas to James Lopez of Benzie County. Law enforcement intercepted the package at a local post office before it reached Lopez.

Michigan State Police Lt. Dan King, head of the Traverse Narcotics Team (TNT), says they rarely see drug packages this large in northern Michigan.

“To my memory, it’s the largest seizure and arrest of cocaine in Benzie County,” says King.

The parents of five young, unarmed black boys that Grand Rapids police held at gunpoint last month want police officers involved in the incident to apologize to their sons.

Police ordered the 12 to 14-year-olds to the ground after getting a tip that someone in a group matching their description had a gun. Grand Rapids’ police chief has apologized but said officers were following protocol.

Manistee man shot, killed by police officer

Mar 29, 2017
Manistee Police Department

A Manistee Police officer shot and killed a man Tuesday night. Police say 73-year-old Lee Milks threatened the officer with an assault rifle before he was shot multiple times.

Manistee Police are not identifying the officer who shot Milks. Chief David Bachman says the officer was conducting “blight enforcement” on 2nd Street, when he saw an old bus parked in Milks’ backyard.

“He made contact with the owner of the bus and asked to take a look at it," says Bachman. "The guy said ‘sure’ and went back in his house and came back out with a rifle.”

Peter Payette

Hate crime laws, with their roots in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, were originally intended to protect people from violence based on their race or religion.

When police officers are faced with potentially dangerous situations, the initial reaction is often to draw their weapon. 

That, after all, is what their training suggests they do: A 2015 survey of training curriculum at more than 280 police agencies found that the typical agency devoted 58 hours to firearms training and 49 hours to defensive tactics, compared with 10 to communication and just eight to de-escalation.

This type of training, and the warrior mentality it creates, has been at the root of deadly confrontations between police and the people they're arresting in recent years.

Aaron Selbig

UPDATE, Wednesday, Nov. 16.

Officer Michael Peters resigned from the Traverse City Police Department Monday evening. 

ORIGINAL STORY, Monday, Nov. 14.

A Traverse City police officer has been suspended after flying a Confederate flag at a public protest.

 

It’s been a tough week for the nation. It saw numerous tragedies, such as the police shootings that killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and the shootings in Dallas that killed five police officers.

These events have heightened unrest between police and their communities, and protests were seen across the country in places like Baton Rouge, Chicago and New York City.

Sgt. Terry Dixon, the public information officer for the Grand Rapids Police Department, joined us to talk about his department's response to last week's tragedies and its effort to bring diversity into law enforcement.

Peter Payette

Police in Traverse City are investigating a pair of attacks on homeless men this week. The victims were kicked, and had firecrackers and stones thrown at them. 

Two were injured badly enough to be taken to the hospital. David Whitney has a broken nose and 27 stitches on his forehead, above his eye and, he says, inside his mouth. His left eye is swollen and blue. 

"They came back in here three times to continue," Whitney says of the attacks. "[They] dragged me down there ... kicking the stuffing out of me.

The August 2014 shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri triggered long nights of civil unrest. Subsequent police shootings across Michigan and around the nation fueled the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as ratcheting up tensions between police departments and the citizens they are supposed to protect.


When we talk about post-traumatic stress disorder, the conversation usually focuses on our members of the military, both active-duty and veterans.

But that misses a large group of men and women who struggle with PTSD: our first responders.


What would it be like if the people of a community saw their police officers not just in crisis or in response to a crime, but in relaxed, friendly settings around town each and every day?

And what if, instead of seeing people at their worst moments, officers got to enjoy pleasant, laid-back interactions with the community?

A Traverse City police captain has rejected a plea bargain. Captain Mike Ayling is charged with neglecting his duty during an investigation of a former city manager.

According to court documents, Grand Traverse County prosecutors offered to lower Ayling’s charge from a felony to a misdemeanor. But Ayling refused, choosing instead to proceed to trial.

    

Peaceful protests continued through the weekend in Madison, Wisconsin, after an unarmed black teenager was killed by a white police officer Friday night.

It's the latest conflict between police and the communities they protect.

Traverse City Manager Jered Ottenwess has been charged with domestic violence and attempted assault on a police officer.

The charges stem from an incident at Ottenwess' home last week. They were filed today by the Grand Traverse County Prosecuting Attorneys Office. Prosecutors allege that during a police call to his home last Monday, Ottenwess attempted to assault two officers from the Traverse City Police Department. He is also charged with assaulting his wife.

Police say the city manager of Traverse City was not arrested during a call to his home last Monday but the incident is under investigation.

Police were called to the home of City Manager Jared Ottenwess last Monday afternoon. Traverse City Police Chief Michael Warren describes the call as a “medical assist” but a report from the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s office says police responded to “a disorderly subject.”

How does having a college degree affect an officer's view of police work, the community, and commanding officers?

William Terrill is a Michigan State University criminologist and co-author of a new study on police attitudes. His research, including a survey of more than 2,100 officers in seven mid-to-large-sized departments across the U.S., is being credited with starting to give us a more comprehensive view of the effects of higher education on policing.

The police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and the death of Eric Garner while being arrested in New York City have fired up the conversation about body cameras for police.

Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Lowell in Kent County are all beginning to outfit their officers with body cameras.

Grand Rapids police are seriously considering them.

But there are a host of challenging privacy issues being uncorked here.

A federal judge has given approval for the Detroit Police Department to get out from under more than 10 years of federal oversight.

The two federal consent decrees date back to 2003.

They were imposed after allegations that Detroit police subjected citizens to excessive force, false arrests and illegal detentions.

The DPD reports fatal shootings and use of force rates are both way down. And they've totally ended the practice of arresting and detaining witnesses.

The department now begins to transition out of federal oversight with an end date in 2016.