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Conservation Officer (CO) Alex VanWagner responded a moose versus car crash that occurred in Baraga County. The CO arrived on scene and assisted as emergency medical services (EMS) evaluated the driver for minor injuries. The moose was deceased upon arrival and the meat will be donated to the local food pantry for those in need.
COs Alex VanWagner and Zach Painter attended a boating under the influence (BUI) training in Roscommon. The training focused on recognizing and enforcing impairment on vessels due to alcohol and drugs. The COs were certified in seated battery sobriety tests to be used in the field.
COs Phil Helminen and Alex VanWagner attended a sportsman’s club event at the Iron Mountain Middle School. COs stationed a booth at the event and interacted with youth about the duties of conservation officers and answered questions about wildlife.
COs Jackson Kelly, Jeremy Sergey, and (Sergeant) Sgt. Mark Leadman were patrolling snowmobile trail 417 in Harvey when a snowmobile could be heard approaching from a significant distance away. The snowmobile was tested with the decibel sound meter and was found to be extremely high. A citation was issued to the operator for the noise violation.
COs Chris Lynch, Steve Butzin, Rob Freeborn, and Mike Evink conducted an all-night patrol on Little Bay de Noc during the last weekend of walleye season. During the patrol, numerous contacts were made, and several violations were encountered including fishing lines not in immediate control, possessing undersized northern pike, no name and address on tip-ups, no identification on ice shanties, fail to exhibit fishing license, and fail to display valid registration on a snowmobile. In total, 11 citations and numerous warnings were issued for these violations.
CO Chris Lynch recently wrapped up a several months-long investigation involving multiple out of state deer hunters who trespassed during the firearm deer season. During the opening day of the firearm deer season, CO Lynch received a trespass complaint and responded to the scene. After taking witness statements and documenting evidence at the scene, it was determined the hunters had trespassed through multiple properties and shot a deer over someone else’s bait pile where they were caught on a trail camera. The suspects were observed using two off-road vehicles (ORVs) and a dark colored Ford F150 pickup truck. CO Lynch was able to identify all four members of the hunting party. He then contacted the Illinois Conservation Police and enlisted their help. They were able to locate both ORVs and the pickup truck that were used in the trespass. In addition, the suspects were definitively matched to the trail camera pictures taken at the scene. A report will be compiled and sent to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office for review and approval of charges for multiple violations.
CO Chris Lynch received a trespass complaint from a landowner had who had put up a new snow fence and multiple trail cameras on his property due to an ongoing trespass issue with snowmobilers riding through his property. The following day, the snow fence was torn down, the trail camera took photos of the snowmobilers, and the landowner followed the snowmobile tracks in the fresh snow back to the suspect’s residence. CO Lynch interviewed the suspect who confessed to trespassing through the property and tearing down the fence. A report will be compiled and sent to the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office for review.
COs Brandon Maki and Andrea Dani responded to a snowmobile crash on Trail 7 in Alger County. The COs located the involved subject and confirmed there were no injuries. The operator stated he was driving too fast and was unable to negotiate a curve, causing him to crash into several trees. Enforcement action was taken.
COs Brandon Maki and Andrea Dani were among many COs from throughout the state to attend a BUI training at the Ralph A. MacMullen Conference Center. COs were taught identifiers of BUI activity and alternative ways to administer standard field sobriety tests (SFSTs) to suspects. The COs practiced these methods on each other and volunteer test subjects.
Sgt. Mark Zitnik along with COs Andrea Dani, Brandon Maki, Justin Vinson, and Cole VanOosten attended a wildlife game dinner at the Munising Baptist Church. The COs provided a fur kit which many of the adults and kids found interesting and educational. The COs engaged with the public and answered questions as they arose.
Due to the inclement weather over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, CO Brandon Maki assisted the Alger County Sheriff’s Department closing State Highway M 28 after multiple vehicles had gone off the roadway. CO Maki contacted multiple motorists and assisted them with alternate routes to their destination.
Superior Central Elementary School named March ‘Hunting Month’ as they were reading a hunting themed book. Due to the theme of the book, Superior Central invited COs Andrea Dani, and Brandon Maki to speak about what a conservation officer does and other hunting related material. The COs spoke to kindergarten through 5th grade and the kids enjoyed asking questions related to their job and hunting.
CO Freeborn participated in a local outdoor safety presentation where local youth listened to 15-minute presentations and rotated to different stations set up in the high school cafeteria. CO Freeborn and the local sheriff’s department discussed ORV and snowmobile safety with the youth and showed them the proper safety gear to wear and bring while riding. The officers also discussed the various age groups required for riding and how to sign up for safety classes. The event was in its first year and will hopefully expand next year.
CO Todd Sumbera was patrolling Munuscong Bay during the “Last Chance” tournament when he observed two anglers fishing with a total of three tip-ups and four jigging rods. One of the anglers admitted to fishing with two tip-ups and two jigging rods. A citation was issued for fishing with more than three lines.
After a lengthy investigation, COs Todd Sumbera and Cole VanOosten conducted a follow up interview on a large 10-point buck harvested in Mackinac County during the late archery deer season. It was determined that the deer had been taken with an illegal method. The deer and crossbow were seized in the investigation. A report was generated and submitted requesting charges against the man for taking a deer with an illegal method.
CO Cole Vanoosten reports that after nearly a year-long investigation involving larceny from a building, the main suspect pled guilty. The suspect pled guilty and agreed to pay $4,000 in restitution to the victim. The co-defendant still has his case pending.
CO Mike Olesen performed two rehabilitator inspections for the Sault Animal Hospital and Chippewa Animal Clinic. These inspections allow them to continue being a vital part of wild animal care in the eastern Upper Peninsula.
COs Ryan Cox and Andrea Albert conducted a taxidermy inspection at a local taxidermist in Antrim County. While conducting the inspection, the COs found a tag on deer antlers that had been bought six minutes prior to the end of shooting light on the day the deer was killed. The COs took note of this and decided to go and interview the hunter. The COs contacted the hunter who eventually admitted to shooting the deer without a license. Once she shot it, she then went and bought a tag and then tagged the deer. The antlers and available meat were all seized, and a report was submitted to the Otsego County prosecutor for charges.
CO Duane Budreau attended a career day event at the Petoskey Middle School where he spoke with approximately 50 students and staff about the career of a Michigan conservation officer. Many of the students were very engaged in the presentation and asked several questions about numerous aspects of the job. Most were excited about the variety of vehicles that a CO utilizes while on patrol. CO Budreau also showed various furs native to Michigan while explaining to the students the habitats and behaviors of the animals. Talking to students about the career is not simply an instrument of recruitment, it is an educational opportunity to explain to our youth the role of a Michigan Conservation Officer.
CO Nathan Beelman was the only available officer to respond to a possible domestic assault in progress. CO Beelman responded to the location and eventually assisted by the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Department with witness statements and gathering evidence. A male suspect was arrested at the conclusion of the investigation.
CO Tim Rosochacki and PCO Wes Butler patrolled Mullett Lake when they encountered an angler fishing with six lines out. The subject stated that his girlfriend was in the house about 300 yards away and the extra lines were hers. She had just run back to the house and was going to be back out. PCO Butler contacted the female at the house and asked if she was out fishing with her boyfriend. The female stated she was out there but was just sitting out there as she did not have a fishing license. Contact was made with the angler and a ticket was issued for fishing with more than the allowed number of lines.
CO Jack Gorno put together a presentation for Wolverine Community School’s 10th and 12th grade classes. CO Gorno introduced many students to the conservation officer’s career, what it takes to become an officer, and his path to the job. He also provided additional advice to help these students better their resumes for a future career in law enforcement.
CO Sidney LaLonde assisted Sgt. Mike Mshar with a traffic stop in the Pigeon River State Forest. Sgt. Mshar and CO LaLonde found a loaded .22 rifle, an uncased .308 rifle and two other cased firearms. The subjects were also in possession of over eight grams of methamphetamines (meth). The subjects were lodged at the Otsego County Jail on several charges including possession of meth and possession of the meth with firearms.
COs Sidney LaLonde and Dan Liestenfeltz received a complaint in Montmorency County of shooting in a residential area. While interviewing locals, they stated a subject was rumored to be shooting turkeys in his yard. The COs interviewed the subject who claimed he was not involved in any shooting or guns. The COs were very familiar with the subject who was on house arrest, on probation, and was not allowed to have any firearms in the residence. The COs walked the property with the subject and followed the subject’s fresh tracks in the snow. The tracks went onto another private property, the subject did not have permission to be on, and led to a hunting blind belonging to the subject. The COs found a pile of corn, blood, a trail camera, and an illegal trap. The COs then followed another set of foot tracks which led to a commercial business. In the business yard was another pile of corn and turkey feathers. The subject still claimed he did not shoot any turkeys and stated the turkey feathers were crow feathers. The COs then walked back to the residence. As the COs were walking back, CO LaLonde spotted the butt stock of a firearm in the snow. CO LaLonde recovered a .22 rifle from the snow and dirt. The firearm was stolen by the subject in a breaking and entering case in the summer of 2022 and stored in the woods. The subject finally admitted to shooting several illegal turkeys. The COs were able to recover a turkey carcass parts and another .22 the subject hid at the commercial business yard nearby. A report is being submitted to the prosecutor’s office for several charges including illegal bait, probation violation for possession of a firearm, illegal trapping, recreational trespass, timber theft, three illegal turkeys taken over bait, out of season (one a hen), and the stolen rifle recovered from another breaking and entering case.
While patrolling Alpena County, CO Jon Sheppard checked a subject who was setting traps on state land. After checking the traps, CO Sheppard noticed there were no names on the traps. CO Sheppard asked when he started trapping, to which he replied that he had only started this year. CO Sheppard educated the new trapper on the law regarding tagging traps as well as some others and let him go with a warning. CO Sheppard advised him to get name tags for the traps as soon as possible.
CO Logan Turner received a complaint of unattended tip-ups on Long Lake in Grand Traverse County. CO Turner went onto the ice and located the tip-ups. No information was located to identify the owner. After approximately 10 minutes, an individual walked onto the ice and said they were his. The suspect stated he was watching them from his residence all morning, however CO Turner noticed there was approximately three inches of ice in the holes, with the bobbers frozen into the ice. A citation was issued to the angler for not having his name and address on the tip-ups and was warned for not having them under his immediate control.
CO Amanda Weaver was off duty taking her dog for a walk, when she located a small bag that contained a crystal-like substance on the side of the road. Upon inspecting the substance, it appeared to possibly be drug related and in a substantial amount. CO Weaver contacted the Benzie County Sheriff’s Office and remained on scene to keep the item secure from children who frequent the area. When the sheriff’s deputies arrived on scene, CO Weaver turned the substance over for testing. It was confirmed that the substance was meth. Although no arrests were made, the substance is off the street and no longer endangering Benzie County’s neighboring residents.
CO Josiah Killingbeck and PCO Joseph Closser were patrolling the Pere Marquette River when they encountered a boat with three subjects and no personal floatation devices (PFDs). The subjects told the COs they were under the impression that they only needed PFDs if their boat was over 16 feet long. The subjects were educated on regulations pertaining to PFDs and they acknowledged that the water temperature was cold, and they would not survive long if they were in the water. A citation was issued.
CO Josiah Killingbeck handled a Report All Poaching (RAP) complaint of a subject feeding deer and shooting a deer as a convicted felon. CO Killingbeck began a lengthy investigation and with the help from COs across the District, a search warrant was executed on the residence. Interviews were conducted and numerous firearms were seized, along with ammunition. A confession was obtained for shooting an 8-point buck with a firearm as a convicted felon. The antlers were seized from the buck and a report will be sent to the Lake County prosecutor for numerous charges.
CO Ben Shively and PCO Les Bleil overheard a call from dispatch of an 82-year-old male who had collapsed, was having trouble breathing, and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was in progress. The COs were close and were able to respond to the residence. PCO Bleil immediately took over CPR from the family member, as CO Shively applied the automated external defibrillator until EMS arrived. Unfortunately, the victim did not survive.
COs Kevin Bunce and Troy Mueller received a complaint of tree stands out on state land. The COs worked on locating several of the illegal stands in the Marion state land. The owners of the illegal stands have been identified with follow up for enforcement.
CO Josh Reed and PCO Jacob Robinson responded to a single vehicle rollover accident in Mecosta County. The driver had swerved to miss a deer and then lost control of the truck in the slush covered roads and overturned in the ditch. PCO Robinson conducted the investigation into the crash and completed the crash report (UD-10). CO Reed took photos of the scene. No injuries were reported.
CO Tim Barboza responded with deputies from the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office to a fight at bar involving an axe and possible injuries. Two patrons at the bar got in a verbal argument. One of the individuals went outside and came back in with an axe and a fight started. There were minor injuries and EMS checked them on scene. The male with the axe was taken into custody by the Oceana County Sheriff’s deputies.
COs Jeff Ginn and Josh Reed, along with PCOs Jacob Robinson and Brandon Benedict, patrolled the Muskegon River. A guide was contacted with two clients. Two steelhead were caught, one for each client. After a brief investigation, it was found that one of the clients did not purchase a fishing license. Enforcement action was taken on the steelhead caught illegally.
Lieutenant (Lt.) Joe Molnar was at the Cadillac DNR office when an individual brought a bobcat in to be sealed. The hunter stated he shot the bobcat in January but after a brief interview, the hunter admitted to shooting the bobcat during the firearm deer season. A report will be submitted to the prosecutor for taking a bobcat during the closed season.
Lt. Joe Molnar was at the Traverse City DNR office when an individual brought a bobcat in to be sealed. The hunter stated he shot the bobcat in February and after a short interview, the hunter admitted to shooting the bobcat in a trap after trapping season had closed. During the interview, the individual admitted to shooting a second bobcat in a trap a few days after the first one. A report will be submitted to the prosecutor’s office for taking two bobcats with a trap during the closed season.
CO Jacob Hamilton was patrolling along Fife Lake in Kalkaska County when he observed a shanty on the south end of the lake with an ORV parked next to it. CO Hamilton approached the shanty and noticed that the ORV did not have a valid license on it. CO Hamilton began speaking with the anglers about their fishing trip. They stated multiple times they had not caught any fish but saw a couple small pike swimming around. At that time, CO Hamilton noticed a fish fin sticking out of the snow behind the shanty. He asked why there was a fish buried in the snow. One of the anglers stated that he tried to hide it because he knew it was too small but wanted a fish dinner. CO Hamilton measured the northern pike, and sure enough, it was a short fish. A citation was issued for possessing a northern pike less than 24 inches and the fish was seized. The anglers were issued a warning for failing to license their ORV.
CO Matt Zultak was patrolling Roscommon County when he came upon a vehicle stopped partially in the lane of travel. The passenger was outside the vehicle vomiting on the shoulder of the roadway. He pulled over to see if medical attention was required. Upon exiting his patrol vehicle, CO Zultak heard the driver of the vehicle speaking in an angry tone. He observed the driver pulling cans out of the cupholders and throwing them onto the floorboards as liquid was splashing out. CO Zultak asked the subject if medical attention was needed, which they denied. CO Zultak could smell intoxicants and both vehicle occupants had slurred speech. He asked the driver what was in the cans he threw on the floor. The driver stated, they were not his and it was Busch Light. The driver stated he pulled over because the passenger had to vomit and that he had not been drinking since he left the bar. SFSTs were conducted on the driver who was subsequently arrested for his sixth operating while intoxicated offense. The passenger was transported to their residence by the local sheriff’s department and the vehicle was impounded.
CO Breanna Reed followed up on a situation where a possible antlered deer was taken without a license during the firearm season. After a short discussion with the individual, he admitted to shooting a 10-point buck in Macomb County with no antlered deer license. He stated, “I thought it was an antlerless deer until I realized it was the biggest buck I had ever shot.” Charges are being sought through the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office for taking a deer without a license.
COs Ryan Weakman and Cheyanna Rizor attended a career day hosted by Clare High School. Over 40 different vocations were presented. Numerous high school students had the opportunity to learn about the career of Michigan conservation officers. Many students took great interest in this unique role in law enforcement. It was an excellent opportunity to showcase a career in the DNR.
CO Jeff Goss responded to a complaint that Clare County Central Dispatch received about somebody possibly shooting at deer during the closed season. The complainant was watching some deer walking through the woods behind their house when they heard several shots and then watched the deer run off. A Clare County sheriff’s deputy met CO Goss at the scene and helped with the investigation. A man claimed to be target practicing when he saw some deer and decided to send a bullet in their direction. In an unfortunate turn of events, the man struck a deer with one of the bullets. The man’s brand new 9mm handgun was seized and charges are being sought through the Clare County Prosecutor’s Office.
While on patrol in the Maple River State Game Area, CO Adam Schiller observed a canoe on the Maple River with four individuals inside. CO Schiller watched the individuals in the canoe with binoculars as they struggled their way back to the boat launch. The subjects were having a hard time paddling and keeping the boat balanced. Once at the launch the CO asked how many PFDs the subjects had onboard the canoe. They could only produce two Type IV throwable cushions between the four of them. Two of the individuals were cited for failing to provide a PFD while on a canoe. All four subjects were under the influence of alcohol, so they called for a ride to pick them up to get them home safely. It was later determined that CO Michael Lator had contacted the individuals prior to them launching and warned them about the lack of PFDs for the number of people to which they stated that they would return home and get the additional PFDs prior to going out.
CO Mike Haas recently swore to a warrant that was issued by the Montcalm County PA Office. A report had been completed addressing a trespassing complaint. In November of 2022, COs Haas and Marissa Hassevoort interviewed a subject accused of trespassing on his neighbor’s property while deer hunting. After interviews and investigation of the properties, it was determined the subject had shot an antlered deer as it stood on the property line and then tracked and recovered the deer from the neighboring property without permission. The subject also owned four dogs, all of which lacked licenses and were photographed numerous times chasing wildlife on the neighbor’s property. The subject was charged with recreational trespassing and various dog violations.
COs Michael Lator and Adam Schiller were patrolling Gratiot County for ORV activity when they observed a side-by-side with no ORV license pass them on the roadway. The COs turned the truck around to stop the ORV and noticed that the ORV was starting to speed excessively away from them and was not operating on the far-right side of the road. The COs followed the ORV to a residence a mile down the road and contacted the driver and passenger. During the investigation, it was determined that the operator had knowledge of all the ORV rules of the road. A citation was issued for not purchasing an ORV license and warnings were given for the other multiple violations.
CO Mike Eovaldi conducted an interview with an individual suspected of shooting a deer before purchasing a license. The suspect claims to have purchased his tag, shot a deer, gutted it, and drove it 30 minutes to a processor in 59 minutes total. Further investigation will be completed, and charges will be sought through the Sanilac County Prosecutors Office.
CO James Nason received a complaint from a Comstock ordinance officer in reference to a man attempting to construct a makeshift dock out of pallets on the Kalamazoo River in Kalamazoo County. The property the man was accessing the river from is owned by the DNR. CO Nason received trail camera photos from the ordinance officer of the man carrying pallets from his vehicle to the river. Once confronted with the photos, the man became angry and began to scream profanities at the officers. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Sam Schluckbier and PCO Peter Shambaugh received a RAP complaint of a dead horse found on state land in Allegan County. Animal control officers assisted with identifying the breed and eventually the owner. Interviews were conducted and a confession was obtained to dumping the horse a week after it had passed. The owner claimed he didn’t have the money or equipment to properly dispose of the carcass, so he decided to just dump it on state land. Charges are being sought through the Allegan County Prosecutor’s Office.
COs Anna Cullen and Jackie Miskovich were patrolling Muskegon Lake at night and checking fishing boats. Both COs noticed a boat that only had its front navigation lights on as it was under power coming into the boat launch. COs Miskovich and Cullen contacted the boat, and the driver was asked why they did not have their all-around white light on while under power. They said that the light pole would tangle their rod lines, so they did not have it in while they were trolling the lake and that they had forgotten to put the light in once they stopped fishing. Additionally, the boat was not equipped with enough PFDs. A citation was issued for improper navigation lights while under power and a warning was given for failing to have enough PFDs.
CO Mark Reffitt was on patrol in Ionia County when a criminal trespass complaint came through Ionia Central Dispatch. The suspect had a history of assault and was known to be combative with law enforcement. Considering the suspect’s history, CO Reffitt and an Ionia County deputy assisted a Michigan State Police (MSP) trooper on the call. As the officers arrived on scene, the suspect fled on foot through a heavily wooded area along a creek to a residence nearly half a mile away. When he emerged from the woods, he was spotted by an MSP motor carrier officer who had heard the call and set up a perimeter south of the residence. Following a short foot chase by the motor carrier officer, CO Reffitt and the other officers arrived on scene and arrested the individual without further incident. The subject was found armed with four knives on his person, one being an illegal dagger.
PCO Wes Butler and CO Justin Ulberg investigated a complaint regarding hunter harassment that was occurring throughout the 2022 deer season. The complainant stated that he had recently bought a new piece of property. The resident that lives adjacent to his property would make loud noises and use an air horn to scare away the deer when he was out hunting. The complainant stated that he recently got new evidence from a social media post that could help with his case, and he decided he wanted to press charges. CO Ulberg and PCO Butler went and spoke with the suspect about the complaint, and she denied that she had any intent to scare the deer away. However, when she was shown some of the statements that she made on social media about using air horns to scare deer away from the hunter, the suspect changed her story and stated that she did in fact blow the air horn when the complainant was out hunting. A report will be submitted to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office for pending charges.
CO Lisa Taube attended the Pheasants Forever “Women on the Wing” event located at Muzzy’s Pheasant Farm in Shiawassee County. There were 20 female hunters and approximately 10 guides and mentors who participated.
CO Thomas Jaakkola was on patrol in Jackson County and saw a large red-tailed hawk sitting on the center line of the roadway. As he approached, the hawk did not move. He stopped to investigate and noted the hawk was injured and could not fly. CO Jaakkola contacted Wildside Rehabilitator out of Eaton Rapids who responded. The hawk was captured and taken for further care.
CO Nicholas Thornton conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle with expired plates which continued driving an extended period before pulling over. The driver of the vehicle immediately exited his vehicle and approached CO Thornton in an aggressive manner demanding that he be taken to jail immediately. CO Thornton learned the driver was in possession of meth, readily available marijuana, open alcohol, and a bb pistol that looked like a real handgun. CO Thornton arrested the individual for two outstanding warrants, driving on a revoked driver’s license, no insurance, and possession of meth.
Patrolling back to her residence during a snowstorm, CO Ariel Young encountered a vehicle that had collided with a concrete barrier and was subsequently blocking an entrance ramp. CO Young contacted the individual who was understandably shook up from the ordeal but was thankfully not injured. CO Young provided the individual with report information for insurance purposes and the driver was able to slowly drive their vehicle back to their residence.
CO Danielle Zubek assisted Proud Lake State Park with a vessel that was illegally being stored at Long Lake boat launch. CO Zubek was able to locate the property owner and had the vessel removed. A citation was issued to the owner for not properly transferring a registration within 15 days and for storing a vessel on state land without permission.
CO Justin Muehlhauser encountered a man fishing from an overpass on the Flint River in downtown Flint. The CO made contact and noticed that the man was in violation of the Flint River gear restrictions during the closed walleye season. Further investigation revealed that the man did not have a valid fishing license. The angler was educated on the gear restrictions and citied for fishing without a license.
CO Sydney Griffor participated in the St. Clair County 4-H event “From the Forest to the Table”. Students were able to learn hands-on skills and activities such as, wild game processing, tree stand safety, shot impact, blood trail tracking, outdoor camp cooking, and much more. Students also had the opportunity to eat the wild game (deer, quail, and rabbit) they processed. CO Griffor also presented to the students the importance of hunting ethics.
CO Andrew Monnich received a complaint from Lenawee County Dispatch about individuals shooting off the roadway and trespassing. CO Monnich called CO Eric Smither and Sgt. Shane Webster who were patrolling nearby and asked them to check the road to the south of the incident and CO Monnich would check the north roads. Both COs were able to contact a large group of coyote hunters who were actively hunting the block with dogs. The issues were addressed, and one citation was issued for loaded/uncased firearm in a motor vehicle.
CO Brandon Vacek responded to a call to assist a Monroe County Sheriff deputy on a traffic stop near the COs location. A vehicle with two subjects had failed to immediately stop and had travelled outside of the county before pulling over. Upon further investigation, the driver was detained on outstanding warrants and no valid driver’s license. During an inventory search of the vehicle, CO Vacek and the sheriff’s deputy located a moderate amount of an unknown substance resembling narcotics and several unlabeled pills. The driver was subsequently arrested based on positive field testing for a controlled substance and transported to the Monroe County Jail by the sheriff’s deputy.
While working a Belle Isle shift, CO Bob Watson, heard a vehicle doing a burn out (screeching tires) not far from his location. Soon, the vehicle was heard approaching at a high rate of speed and eventually disregarded a stop sign while travelling at a high rate of speed. A traffic stop was conducted, and a citation was issued for disregarding a stop sign. Warnings were given for multiple other traffic-related violations.
Environmental Investigations Section (EIS)
Det. Josh Boudreaux conducted an investigation at a sand/limestone processing facility in Mackinac County after receiving an anonymous complaint from an employee who stated water discharge data was being falsified and Lake Michigan was being negatively impacted. Det. Boudreaux and WRD-NPDES Compliance Manager Tom Asmus met with numerous employees and conducted site visits to the facility to determine the validity of the complaint. Throughout the investigation it was learned that five employees had been told directly or overheard the plant manager ordering employees to "fix" numbers on data sheets so that the facility remained in compliance with their NPDES permit.
During the investigation, data sheets were seized and analyzed, revealing numerous locations where data entries had been changed. Satellite imagery of the facility was obtained for a two year period and there were numerous visible and non-reported discharges into the lake in violation of their NPDES permit. The plant manager, who at the end of each month reviews and certifies the data as accurate, submitted data into the state reporting system that he knew was inaccurate. The plant manager admitted to knowing they were exceeding their permit limits but cited increased production pressure from the company owners as a reason he did not report the violations. Multiple charges were submitted to the Mackinac County prosecutor, including felony violations. After many discussions with the prosecutor about the case, the agreement was made that moving forward with the misdemeanor charge would be appropriate. This was a result of an additional case being pursued by EGLE against the company and the plant manager gaining no benefit from falsifying the data. On March 20th, 2023, in the 92nd District Court of Mackinac County, the plant manager plead guilty to the misdemeanor NPDES permit violation for knowingly reporting inaccurate data and paid $500 in fines and costs.
GREAT LAKES ENFORCEMENT UNIT (GLEU)
Cpls. Justin Vanderlinde and Troy VanGelderen completed several pet shop inspections in response to unidentified crayfish that were found in feeder fish shipments nationwide. Information on suppliers has been obtained, and specimens have been seized for positive identification.
Cpl. Nick Atkin attended the Great Lakes Managing Fisheries and Exploring Islands webinar gaining situational awareness of his patrol area.
Cpls. Pat Hartsig and Nick Atkin conducted AIS inspections at local pet shops. During the inspections, no violations were noted.
Cpl. Troy VanGelderen assisted an Oceana County Deputy with a DOA heroin overdose. Heroin and unregistered guns were taken from the scene. The family who had come to the scene began fighting over other belongings. The parties were split up and sent on their way.
Cpl. Mike Hammill received a call of an injured Bald Eagle on US-2. Cpl. Hammill was able to contact a wildlife technician to recover the Bald Eagle that was deceased when he arrived.
Cpls. Mike Hammill and Brett DeLonge conducted a delinquent bait catcher and minnow dealer inspection.
Cpl. Mike Hammill was patrolling Little Bay de Noc when he received a text from a local bait shop owner advising that 15 anglers were fishing a piece of ice that had broken loose and was free-floating south into open water. The anglers were all able to get off the ice and recover all their fishing gear without incident.
Cpl. Mike Hammill contacted a group of anglers near the mouth of the Escanaba River. The 3 portables that were visible all had 3 tip ups outside of their shacks as Cpl. Hammill approached, with all the anglers in their shacks. None of the tip ups had names on them and one of the anglers failed to purchase a Michigan license. Enforcement action was taken.
Cpl. Mike Hammill was in a remote area near Garden when he came across several unattended lines. Cpl. Hammill observed the lines from a distance and eventually found the owners. Citations were issued.
Cpl. Brett DeLonge assisted personnel from MSP Negaunee, Marquette City Police Department, and Northern Michigan University Public Safety with conducting interviews for NMU’s Regional Police Academy starting in May.
Cpl. Brett DeLonge met with Negaunee City Police Department personnel to plan a law enforcement exploration event for elementary children at Little Friends Daycare in Negaunee.
GLEU officers have conducted follow-up with multiple commercial minnow catchers who were delinquent in reporting harvest for the 2022 season. Most of the data required has been collected with appropriate enforcement action for non-compliance.
GLEU officers have conducted follow-up investigations with multiple fish wholesalers who were delinquent in submitting February’s required reports. Appropriate enforcement action was taken during the follow up investigations.