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Conservation Officer (CO) Jenni Hanson instructed at an ORV Safety course at Gogebic Community College. Approximately 15 students, ages ranging from 11-15, attended and successfully passed the course.
CO Byron Parks had just started his shift when he overheard radio traffic regarding an incident earlier in the day in which a subject followed her GPS down a two-track and got stuck. It was reported that the subject left her vehicle in the woods and began walking to find help. Eventually she was able to call 911, and a tow company picked her up on a road about a mile from her vehicle. She told the towing company that her vehicle was still stuck in the woods and that her cat was inside it but did not know where the vehicle was located. After about an hour of searching, CO Parks located the vehicle with the cat still safely inside.
COs Jared Ferguson, Phill Helminen, and Sergeant (Sgt). Brian Bacon hosted 3rd and 4th grade students from Kingsford – Woodland Elementary school for an outdoor event. The COs brought boats, jet skis, four-wheelers, and a side-by-side. The COs covered marine safety and ORV laws. The weather was nice, and the kids enjoyed the presentations given by the COs.
CO Jeremy Sergey instructed at the Basic Marine Enforcement Training school at Camp Grayling for the newest group of probationary conservation officers (PCOs). The training included operating small to mid-sized patrol boats and trailering those vessels.
CO Cody Smith worked a group patrol with the Baraga County Sheriff’s Office. The annual Baraga County Lake Trout Festival fishing tournament was underway with 130 boats registered in the tournament. Officer’s patrolled Keweenaw Bay and Huron Bay checking approximately 50 vessels and over 100 people for line count, fish, and safety equipment. All vessels were legal, and many fish were observed. CO Smith volunteered with the weigh-in after his shift where a 38.15-pound lake trout was weighed in, easily winning largest lake trout and possibly the largest in the history of the tournament.
CO John Kamps and corporal (Cpl.) Josh Boudreaux assisted the MSP and Marquette Sheriff’s Department in serving a felony warrant on a subject that was known to flee and hide in the woods. CO Kamps assisted with perimeter security and Cpl. Boudreaux patrolled off-road vehicle (ORV) trails leading from the suspect residence. As the MSP and Marquette Sheriff’s Department left the scene after being unable to locate the suspect, CO Kamps overheard a conversation between three individuals indicating that the suspect was hiding in the woods. A brief time later, CO Kamps along with the perimeter security team, observed the suspect exit the woods and head towards the residence. CO Kamps, along with the MSP, were able to take the suspect into custody without incident. The suspect was lodged in the Marquette County Jail.
COs John Kamps and Cody Smith assisted at the annual Becoming an Outdoors Woman (BOW) program in Big Bay. The COs taught both stream fishing and near shore fishing in the rivers and lakes around Big Bay.
COs Brandon Maki and Andrea Dani responded with personnel from the US Forest Service (USFS), Alger County Sheriff’s Office, K-9 Alger, and MSP to a search and rescue of lost bikers in the Hiawatha National Forest near the Indian River. Alger County Dispatch relayed GPS coordinates from a ping from the subject’s 911 call. CO Dani checked a cabin near the pinged location and located one subject. The second subject was located about a half mile away in the woods. The officers escorted the subject out of the woods without incident.
CO Steve Butzin received a complaint of several anglers trespassing on private lands in Ford River Township. CO Butzin went to the location and observed several anglers walk past several no trespassing signs. A citation was issued to the anglers for recreational trespassing.
COs Steve Butzin and Michael Evink participated in a local event at the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Pocket Park in Escanaba. The COs gave a presentation to approximately 70 children on conservation officers job duties. The children also got to see and interact with some of the COs issued equipment.
COs Mike Evink, Andrea Dani, Cpl. Mike Hammill, and Sgt. Mark Zitnik assisted at the DNR Pocket Park with a kid’s fishing day. Over 275 children attended the event and participated in many activities that the volunteers from the USFS and the DNR set up. Some of the events were a minnow race, casting contest, face painting, target shooting with bows and pellet guns, and fishing where the kids could catch crappie, bluegill, pike, and perch. Despite the rain, the children and the parents took part in the wonderful event and were even provided a meal for the day and a raffle prize that consisted of either a fishing pole or a tackle box. This was the first time the event has taken place at the DNR Pocket Park at the U.P. State Fairgrounds and with such an excellent turnout there may be more kids fishing in the days to come.
While parked in a hidden location near a busy ORV bridge, CO Robert Freeborn observed a couple subjects stop and start to fish. After watching the subjects for several minutes, CO Freeborn observed one subject catch several fish and put them in a net that was in the water. After watching the subject for several more minutes, CO Freeborn walked down to the bridge to contact the angler. When asked how many fish he had caught, the man stated he had not caught a thing. CO Freeborn advised the subject that he had been watching him catch fish and put them in the net in the river. The subject then quickly replied “Well, just give me the ticket.” When asked why, the subject stated he did not have a fishing license. CO Freeborn confirmed that he did not have a valid license and was issued a citation for fishing without a license.
CO Robert Freeborn responded, along with local emergency medical services (EMS) and the MSP, to a complaint from local dispatch of two subjects possibly drowning in a local lake. Upon arrival on the scene, it was determined that the subjects had been picked up by an angler on the lake and were unharmed. The subjects were transported to shore and checked out by EMS where they were released.
COs Justin Vinson and PCO Mark Reffitt were on marine patrol in Luce County when they received a call regarding an open burn in progress south of Newberry. The complainant stated that several individuals were open burning a half mile north of his home and that ashes were falling on his roof. The COs arrived on scene and spoke to the individuals who were responsible for the open burn and observed that proper safety protocols were in place to prevent the spread of the fire. The individuals were observed to be burning only natural materials. The COs then visited the complainant to explain the state burning laws and informed him that the individuals were not in violation since open burning was currently allowed in Luce County and they were burning materials that were legal to burn.
COs Todd Sumbera and PCO Jacob Daniel received a complaint of two dogs running at-large and killing a fawn. The COs interviewed the dog’s owner who was not at home when the fawn was killed. A report has been submitted to the Chippewa County Prosecutor’s Office for review of allowing dogs to run at-large.
CO Mike Olesen responded to a single motorcycle accident on I 75. CO Olesen assisted with shutting down a lane of traffic for EMS. The cyclist lost control on wet roads and fortunately did not sustain life-threatening injuries.
COs Mike Olesen and Sgt. Calvin Smith were on marine patrol when they were contacted by the central dispatch regarding two missing kayakers on the St. Mary’s River. The COs responded and were able to locate the missing duo who had taken shelter during a sudden thunderstorm by tucking in behind some small islands.
CO Nathan Beelman was the first on scene for a mountain bike accident that happened on a designated mountain bike path. CO Beelman used his state issued off-road vehicle to access the victim approximately 15 minutes before other first responders while an EMS ORV could be brought to the area. The victim had fallen off his bike while navigating tight turns and believed he had suffered a lower-back or spine injury. CO Beelman stabilized the victim’s neck while EMS personnel responded to the area. Due to the tight trails, CO Beelman assisted the EMS personnel with extricating the patient and getting the patient back to the trailhead.
COs Nathan Beelman and Chad Baldwin were on marine patrol on Lake Michigan when they observed three anglers on a boat trolling for lake trout. From a distance, it was believed that the group was trolling with more lines than they were allowed. The COs contacted the group who were found to have been trolling with 15 lines; six over the allowed amount. All three members were ticketed for fishing with more lines than allowed.
CO Chad Baldwin checked a popular area of state land for dispersed campsites after Memorial Day weekend to pick up camp registration cards and ensure sites were cleaned up and not taking advantage of the laws associated with dispersed camping. CO Baldwin located several abandoned campsites with trash and personal items left behind. CO Baldwin checked the items for identifiable information and the investigation is still ongoing as he has located several names associated with the campsites. CO Baldwin also located a travel trailer with an expired camp registration and trash laying around the area. CO Baldwin contacted the owner at his residence who stated his daughter was using the trailer. CO Baldwin gave the owner until the end of the day to have the trailer removed and trash cleaned up from the site.
CO Kyle Cherry was on marine patrol on a lake in Otsego County when he observed three subjects on a boat with an adult female fishing from the bow. CO Cherry contacted the female subject who advised she did not have a fishing license and she was not fishing, and she was simply “casting.” CO Cherry advised her that casting with an artificial lure to catch fish was in fact fishing and that she was required to have a fishing license. The female subject’s husband then told CO Cherry that he had a fishing license, and he was not fishing so his wife was “Fishing under his license.” CO Cherry explained that fishing licenses do not work that way. A ticket was issued.
CO Matt Theunick assisted at Wolverine Schools with an outdoor education program. The students learned about compass work, shooting sports, shelter building, and hunter safety.
CO Sidney Collins and PCO Cheyanna Langworthy received a dumping complaint on state land in Montmorency County. COs Collins and Langworthy dug through the trash to find pieces of mail and boxes with an address on it. The COs interviewed the subject who finally admitted to dumping the trash on state land. Additionally, the COs found several DNR signs on the subject’s property. The subject was ticketed for the dumping violation and given a warning for being in possession of the signs.
CO Sidney Collins and PCO Cheyanna Langworthy assisted Montmorency County Sheriff’s deputies with finding a possible breaking and entering suspect. A local citizen stated a person matching the description lived a few doors down. The officers were able to locate the man and address the situation. The subject was having a diabetic episode and EMS was called. The subject was transported to the hospital.
CO Sidney Collins was ending her patrol in the early Saturday morning in Montmorency County. CO Collins saw a person on the side of the road flagging her down. CO Collins noticed the man had blood on his head and his clothing was torn up. CO Collins asked the subject what happened and called for EMS to come to the scene. The subject was barely able to speak but was able to get out that he was in a motorcycle accident. CO Collins found the man’s motorcycle in the ditch about 30 yards away. The man hit a deer and was not wearing a helmet. Thankfully, he only had minor injuries.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz was patrolling Montmorency County when he witnessed a dirt bike lose control and crash on the shoulder of a county roadway. CO Liestenfeltz contacted the operator to make sure they were ok. When talking with the operator, CO Liestenfeltz noticed signs of intoxication. After determining the operator was uninjured and did not want any medical attention, CO Liestenfeltz administered standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs). The tests were not passed, and the operator blew above the legal limit on the preliminary breath test (PBT). CO Liestenfeltz lodged the subject for operating while intoxicated (OWI) and a friend came to pick up the dirt bike.
CO Jack Gorno went into Glen Lake Community School’s 4th grade science classes for a career day presentation. CO Gorno shared a PowerPoint, discussion, and brought a fur kit for animal identification.
CO William Kinney is currently investigating a complaint on state land in Grand Traverse County. It was reported by the complainant, and later discovered by CO Kinney, that someone had purposely posted and attempted to block a portion of state land. CO Kinney discovered “No Horseback Riding” signs on a user created trail. In addition, the suspect had placed a tree limb across the trail at the height to create a hazard for anyone riding on horseback. All objects were removed, and the trail was made safe again. The case is still under investigation.
CO Josiah Killingbeck heard the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in pursuit of a vehicle for reckless driving. While CO Killingbeck was not part of the pursuit, CO Killingbeck assisted in the investigation once the vehicle crashed in a wooded area. Deputies informed CO Killingbeck that the suspect was in possession of an alligator in the vehicle that was loose. CO Killingbeck spoke with the suspect who said it was his pet and advised CO Killingbeck that he had recently purchased the alligator from a pet shop. The suspect also informed CO Killingbeck that he had picked up a snapping turtle on a beach in southern Michigan that he was keeping as a pet. CO Killingbeck informed the subject that turtle season is closed and that there are size requirements. Charges were submitted for the illegal possession of the turtle. CO Killingbeck also assisted in the removal of the three-foot alligator from the vehicle, which was taken to an exotic wildlife rescue, for safe keeping while the owner is in jail.
CO Josiah Killingbeck overhead a radio call from central dispatch of a subject who was found after attempting suicide. CO Killingbeck was the first to arrive and found a female covered in blood with numerous lacerations to the neck. CO Killingbeck provided first aid until EMS arrived. After EMS took over care, they asked if CO Killingbeck could ride to the hospital to assist in keeping the patient alive.
CO Jeff Ginn responded to a complaint of a suspicious vessel occupied by two males beached into the cattails who were seen carrying a large tote into the woods just after daylight. CO Ginn requested a second officer to respond and assist due to the remote location. CO Jeff Ginn and Deputy Owenga located the abandoned watercraft with various household appliances. They were able to determine the boat belonged to a resident on the water. Upon inspection of his house, it was determined to have been broken into with property missing, including two firearms. Newaygo Deputy Green and K9 Remi responded along with additional deputies. Two males were observed running into the woods nearby. CO Ginn assisted with a perimeter and apprehension of the suspects who were located by the Newaygo K9. The two suspects were found in possession of the two stolen firearms and were taken into custody.
CO Tim Barboza assisted the MSP and Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office with a missing 88-year-old woman with dementia. Multiple K9 officers and the MSP’s helicopter were called in to assist in the search. The search was called for the night at 0230 and resumed the following morning with assistance from the public. The woman was located safe the following day.
CO Kyle Bader assisted the Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Office in taking a man into custody who was extremely intoxicated and was threatening suicide. The man was armed with a .22 rifle.
COs Brad Bellville and Kyle Bader contacted multiple young anglers on the West Branch of the Rifle River in Ogemaw County at the annual West Branch Optimist Club youth fishing derby. The club plants hundreds of rainbow trout in the river each year and gives away multiple prizes to young anglers.
CO Casey Pullum was conducting a stationary ORV patrol in Oscoda County. While using his speed measurement device he noted the speed of an oncoming side-by-side to be 62 miles per hour (mph). CO Pullum activated his emergency lights and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. The ORV passed his location, did not appear to slow down, and made a sharp “U-turn” in the roadway as CO Pullum began to follow. As the ORV started back in the other direction, the operator made eye contact with CO Pullum and waved as he passed. CO Pullum noticed there was a passenger in the side-by-side as well. CO Pullum continued to follow the ORV for a short distance with his lights and siren activated until the ORV turned onto an ORV trail. The condition of the trail was so poor that CO Pullum discontinued following the ORV but began searching the area. About 20 minutes after attempting to stop the side-by-side, CO Pullum located the empty side-by-side parked along the ORV trail. Footprints were leading away from the ORV and into the woods. With assistance from Oscoda County Sheriff’s deputies and the MSP a search for the subjects began. CO Pullum located the vehicle identification number off the machine, ran it in the law enforcement identification network, and obtained a photograph of the titled owner confirming the driver’s identity. The photo was then shared with all local law enforcement assisting. CO Pullum stayed with the ORV as the other agencies searched the adjacent roads. CO Pullum noticed a white pickup truck in the area that passed the nearby intersection. CO Pullum notified assisting agencies and a stop was conducted on the pickup. CO Pullum was notified the owner of the ORV was in the back seat of the white pickup. The subject admitted to owning the ORV but was uncooperative for an interview. The subject smelled of intoxicants and showed multiple signs of being intoxicated. CO Pullum conducted SFSTs on the subject and determined his ability to operate a motor vehicle was impaired. The subject was arrested for OWI and flee and elude. The subject was lodged at the Oscoda County Jail.
CO Jeff Goss attended the Gladwin City Library’s ‘Touch a Boat’ event. Numerous youths were able to see boats from different agencies, including Secord Township Fire Department, Gladwin Fire Department, Gladwin County Sheriff’s Department, and the DNR LED. The kids were able to check out all the rescue gear and even try their hand at throwing a rescue bag. It was a big hit with all that attended.
CO Joshua Wright responded to a serious roll-over accident on M 115 in Clare County. The driver was pinned in the vehicle and was complaining of pain but was alert and conscious. CO Wright assisted fire and rescue personnel in running the jaws-of-life to cut away the window portion of the passenger side door and cutting the seat belt. CO Wright, members of the fire/rescue squad, and sheriff deputies were able to pull the subject from the vehicle. He was placed on a back board and escorted to the nearby ambulance. CO Wright also assisted with traffic control as the Aero Med helicopter landed on M 115 to take the man to the hospital.
COs John Huspen, Chuck McPherson and PCO Jacob Hamilton conducted a marine patrol out of South Higgins State Park. Multiple subjects were contacted and educated on the dangers of aquatic invasive species (AIS) and the importance of washing boats and trailers, before and after launching a vessel.
Sgt. Brian Olsen watched a side-by-side ORV jump the railroad tracks at a non-road crossing during the 2022 Gambler 500 event. Sgt. Olsen stopped the side-by-side and issued a citation for operating in the railroad right-of-way.
Sgt. Brian Olsen stopped a side-by-side for improper plate on a motor vehicle during the Gambler 500 event. The unregistered ORV had placed a Michigan license plate on the back of his ORV. The ORV was not registered as a motor vehicle which would allow different rules and regulations for operation. Sgt. Olsen educated the operator about the situation and issued a citation for having an improper plate on a motor vehicle.
CO Adam Beuthin was on marine patrol in Bay City and observed a vessel with a registration that expired in 2021. CO Beuthin contacted the operator and could smell intoxicants. The CO had the individual put on a PFD to come aboard the patrol vessel for seated sobriety testing. After sobriety tests and a PBT, the CO arrested the individual for operating a vessel while intoxicated. The case is open pending warrant request through the Bay County Prosecutor’s Office.
While patrolling the Saginaw Bay, CO Matthew Neterer and PCO Josh Salas observed a boat with two anglers trolling near the shipping channel with an expired registration. The COs contacted the anglers and asked for their fishing licenses and to check their fish. The anglers nervously stated that they had eight filleted walleyes onboard and that they had dumped the carcasses in the lake. Citations were issued for possessing mutilated fish and operating a vessel with expired registration.
CO Dan Robinson and PCO Michael Lator were dropping department mail at the post office and encountered a male having a seizure. A family member was present and advised that the subject has seizures on a regular basis but this one lasted longer than usual. The COs retrieved their medical kit from the patrol truck and monitored the individual until EMS arrived.
CO Sam Schluckbier and PCO Cameron Wright worked a special assignment at Holland State Park. During their patrol, multiple warnings were given for excessive noise and warnings were given to young anglers on the pier for fishing without licenses. The COs also assisted the park rangers with evicting an extremely agitated visitor from the park for refusing to turn down his loud music and revving his car’s engine.
CO Sam Schluckbier observed an ORV operating on the roadway with three subjects on it. The driver was an older gentleman with two grandchildren as the passengers. No one was wearing helmets and the driver was operating too fast. Once stopped, CO Schluckbier found the driver had failed to license the ORV and he did not possess a valid driver’s license to operate on the roadway. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Carter Woodwyk received a complaint in Allegan County of a subject possessing a fawn and three baby raccoons. The CO attempted to contact the suspect at his residence, however, was unsuccessful. One of the suspect’s neighbors tipped him off to the CO’s presence at his house. A few hours later, the CO was given information that the suspect loaded up the fawn and raccoons and took them to a different residence. Two days later, the CO followed up at the residence and was met there by the suspect. The suspect denied having raccoons and indicated he released the fawn the day prior. After CO Woodwyk reminded the suspect of multiple breaks he was given the year prior, in an unrelated incident, the suspect agreed to have the CO come to his residence and take the baby raccoons to a licensed rehabilitator for proper care.
COs Casey Varriale and Justin Ulberg were patrolling Spring Lake in Ottawa County and contacted two anglers with a basket full of bluegills. While checking the fish, the COs located a bass that was only 11.5 inches. Additionally, one of the anglers did not have a fishing license. The anglers were cited for their violations and the bass and extra bluegill were seized.
CO Anna Cullen was driving in downtown Muskegon and observed an ORV operating on the roadway. Muskegon County is closed to ORVs on public roadways. CO Cullen did not see a license on the ORV and the operator was not wearing a helmet. CO Cullen stopped the ORV and explained the multiple violations observed. The rider disclosed that he had a loaded firearm in his waistband, and he was a CPL holder. Eventually, the rider was able to show CO Cullen his CPL license, but the individual did not have it on their person. CO Cullen explained the numerous violations to the rider and issued a citation for the safety violation. Warnings were issued for the rest of the violations.
CO John Byars conducted a presentation about a day in the life of a Michigan Conservation Officer at Kinawa Elementary School. CO Byars educated students on what a Michigan Conservation Officer does and showed the students his patrol equipment, patrol truck, and patrol boat.
COs Thomas Jaakkola and Cullen Knoblauch attended the Grass Lake Sportsman’s Club’s free fishing day. Over 200 attended the event. COs Jaakkola and Knoblauch helped the kids fish and answered questions from parents. COs Jaakkola and Knoblauch also showed the kids their patrol truck and patrol boat.
CO Ed Rice attended a kids fishing derby hosted by the Hillsdale Kiwanis and Conservation Clubs. 50 kids participated in the derby. CO Rice engaged with parents and kids about fishing and marine safety.
COs Ed Rice and Chris Reynolds attended a Hunter’s Safety course hosted by the Red Fox Sportsman’s Club in Jonesville. COs Rice and Reynolds led a brief presentation focusing on youth hunting, ethical hunting behavior, and firearms safety. Students were engaged and asked questions about ethics of hunting, safety, and the Michigan DNR Law Enforcement Division.
On June 12th, COs Martin Lawrence and Keven Luther participated in the “Free Fishing for Kids” event which was held in Detroit. The DNR, along with other agencies, got the opportunity to work with a large group of kids who were shown the basics of becoming an angler.
CO David Schaumburger, on a nighttime marine patrol, came across a vessel with only one of the three required navigation lights illuminated. The CO approached the vessel and contacted the operator who said that he knew the lights were out and that he had ordered them, but he still decided to come out at night lacking the proper lights. A citation was issued for improper navigation lights.
After receiving an anonymous complaint that someone had shot a rabbit out of season, CO Ariel Young followed up with the suspect. After initially denying killing a rabbit, the suspect later admitted to taking the rabbit out of season because it was getting into his garden. It was later discovered that the rabbit had babies in a neighboring yard. The baby rabbits were taken to a rehabilitator but unfortunately died due to emaciation. Charges are being sought through the prosecutor’s office.
In March of 2019, Det. Bowen opened an investigation into a well drilling company in Antrim County for operating without a license. EGLE’s Drinking Water and Environmental Health Division and the local Health Department had discovered that a well drilling company had been operating on a revoked well drilling certification. Six different properties were identified as having wells drilled while the driller was not certified to do so. The well driller plead guilty to five counts of drilling water wells while unregistered. Sentencing was delayed from the original plea date due to stipulations that he had to comply with per the court’s orders which he did and was recently sentenced to a 2-year probation term and a fine of $625.