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Conservation Officer (CO) Steve Sajtar was working in Menominee County when he was passed by a vehicle that was traveling carelessly at a high rate of speed. Multiple motor vehicle violations were observed. CO Sajtar initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and contacted the driver. Upon contact, the driver of the vehicle stated that his driver’s license was suspended for previous operating while intoxicated (OWI) violations. Law enforcement action was taken.
While off duty, CO Alex VanWagner and Sergeant (Sgt.) Brian Bacon were contacted by CO Anna Viau and informed about several lost subjects, who were traveling on side-by-sides ORVs, in a remote area of Iron County. Sgt. Bacon was able to obtain a possible location of the subjects and CO VanWagner began checking logging roads in the area via ORV. The six subjects were located by CO VanWagner and stated how thrilled they were to finally hear an ORV coming up the road. Apparently, the group left the off-road vehicle (ORV) trail they were on and got turned around on logging roads the prior evening. They had spent the night in the woods after initial search efforts to locate them were unsuccessful.
CO Alex VanWagner donated moose meat from a prior road-kill incident to the food pantry in Crystal Falls, which will be distributed to families in need within the local community.
COs Alex VanWagner and Anna Viau attended a hunter safety class at the West Iron School. The COs educated the students on hunting laws and ethics. CO VanWagner attended the hunter safety field day a couple of days later and demonstrated how to use a compass and basic survival skills.
CO Jared Ferguson was asked to assist Forest Resources Division with a brush fire in northern Dickinson County. CO Ferguson responded and contacted the landowner. The landowner stated he was burning trash in a pit and the wind picked up and caused the fire to spread. He was not able to control the fire with the water source he had available and had to call 911. CO Ferguson cited the landowner for allowing a fire to spread.
COs Shannon Wicklund and Steve Sajtar attended a boater safety education class at Menominee Marina in Menominee County. While engaging with the local youth, COs Wicklund and Sajtar answered many questions regarding maritime safety and etiquette. Various fish and game related questions were also answered.
CO Jeremy Sergey attended a career fair at Northern Michigan University. Approximately 450 students participated from high schools in the Marquette and Alger County areas.
COs Brandon Maki and Andrea Dani presented at a high school career fair at Alger Parks and Recreation in Munising. Students from across Alger County learned about careers in law enforcement, corrections, forestry, firefighting, and many other occupations. Several showed interest in the profession of law enforcement and about the daily duties of a conservation officer.
While on patrol, COs Robert Freeborn and Michael Evink noticed a large amount of black smoke coming from a residential area along a county road. The COs located the driveway where the smoke appeared to be coming from. As they proceeded down the driveway, they immediately noticed a mobile home that had been demolished with debris scattered all over the yard. There was a large fire with two subjects in a car watching it burn. After speaking with the subjects, it was determined that they were burning most of the trailer and the contents that were left inside. The COs observed a bathtub, insulation, and many other household items that were engulfed in the flames. A citation was issued for the violation.
CO Brandon Maki received information regarding an individual fishing in the closed section of the Rock River. CO Maki responded to the complaint and observed the individual still fishing in the closed section. CO Maki contacted the individual and issued a citation for fishing in the closed section.
CO Justin Vinson investigated a complaint of a snowmobile that had not been retrieved from a Mackinac County lake after going through the ice several weeks prior when the operator decided to make a video of himself riding on last ice. During this, the subject and his sled broke through the ice and a major rescue effort ensued to save his life after the reckless event. CO Vinson was able to locate the snowmobile in his patrol boat in approximately eight feet of water. An interview was conducted with the suspect revealing that the sled had been in the water for over three weeks. The suspect claimed he could not locate the snowmobile. CO Vinson provided coordinates of the location of the sled. The snowmobile was removed later that afternoon.
COs Justin Vinson and Cole VanOosten assisted the DNR Wildlife Division in a youth trapping workshop. The COs assisted in explaining trapping regulations, techniques, and ethics to 25 youth interested in trapping. Every child left with a bucket of trapping supplies, handouts, and a good knowledge base of what is involved in trapping.
COs from District 1 and 2 responded to a call for assistance in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness area for an 8-year-old child that had gone missing after separating from his family while camping. The COs responded and assisted by searching large expanses of remote terrain on foot. The child was located approximately 48 hours after going missing, by local volunteer searchers, in good health. The COs hiked over 20 miles each, over the two-day period, while searching portions of the 60,000-acre state park before the boy was found.
COs Justin Vinson, Cole VanOosten, Mike Olesen, Todd Sumbera, and Sgt. Calvin Smith conducted a group ORV patrol on Drummond Island for the “Jeep the Mac” event. Over 800 Jeeps were registered with most of them coming to the island to ride the trails. No major incidents were encountered or reported.
CO Adam LeClerc received a complaint from Petoskey State Park rangers of an individual that was attempting to stay in the state park without paying and not in a designated campsite. After an interview with the suspect, he was given two options, either pack up and leave or be arrested for criminal trespass. The suspect was arrested and lodged in the Emmet County Jail for criminal trespass. A family member came and retrieved the arrestee’s belongings.
CO Chad Baldwin participated in the Charlevoix Middle School Science Night program where students and presenters conducted experiments and educated the audience on a variety of science related topics. CO Baldwin conducted a presentation on wildlife biology and utilized his fur kit to show off animals all found in the local area. The audience consisted of students and their families which numbered over 150 attendees.
CO Chad Baldwin attended Youth Day at the Charlevoix Rod and Gun Club. The annual event allows young hunting and fishing enthusiasts to fish for trout in a pond, utilize the archery range, shoot .22 caliber rifles on the rifle range, as well as shoot skeet with shotguns. Several other activity stations are set up around the club and CO Baldwin visited with the kids and spoke about several topics including hunter safety, gun and archery equipment safety, and local wildlife, as well as answering questions presented by the children and their parents.
COs Chad Baldwin, Duane Budreau, Jack Gorno, Ryan Cox, and Sidney LaLonde participated in the Career Quest of northeastern Michigan, held in Gaylord. High schools from all over northeast Michigan attended the event where they learned about a multitude of different careers. Over 2,000 students toured the facility, and the COs displayed a vast array of equipment ranging from ORVs, snowmobiles, patrol trucks, boats, and various tools they utilize while performing their duties. The COs also set up a large fur kit, which allowed the students to get an up close and personal look at local wildlife they may not have seen before. The event was highly successful, and the COs enjoyed speaking with the large number of students that shared common interests such as hunting, fishing, and riding ORVs.
CO Ryan Cox was on patrol in Otsego County when he saw an ORV operating in a closed area. CO Cox stopped the ORV and found it to be two kids both under 16 riding double on a single-seated ORV with no ORV licenses, helmets, ORV safety certificates, or parental supervision. CO Cox asked where the kid’s parents were, and they said a dad was at work at a nearby shop. The kids got their father and brought him over to CO Cox. CO Cox explained the violations and issued a citation to the father for allowing his kids to operate an ORV without supervision. Warnings were given for the other violations and the kids were educated on them.
CO Andrea Albert was checking anglers and kayakers on a small inland lake known for its bass fishing prior to the bass opener. When asked about the fishing, two subjects stated they caught several bass but put them all back. When CO Albert asked to look in their kayaks for fish, their story quickly changed, and they admitted to having bass hidden in the kayak. Three out of season bass were found hidden in a kayak, one subject did not have a fishing license and neither subject had a personal floatation device (PFD). The bass were returned to the water and law enforcement action was taken for the violations.
CO Jon Sheppard responded to a complaint in Alpena County of a side-by-side behind a locked gate on snowmobile Trail 4. The side-by-side was disabled and needed a tow. CO Sheppard responded to the scene and unlocked the gate for the tow truck to remove the vehicle. A ticket was issued for operating where posted closed.
CO Paul Fox assisted local deputies with an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) personal injury crash in Presque Isle County. Both operator and rider sustained moderate injuries and needed to be transported by ambulance to the hospital. Upon investigation, it was determined that the subjects were riding double on an ATV not designed for two people, were not wearing helmets as required, and were operating carelessly on a public road. The ATV flipped, causing both riders to be thrown from the vehicle.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz and Acting Sgt. Sidney LaLonde had just completed an ORV safety meeting in the town of Lewiston. As soon as CO Liestenfeltz entered his patrol vehicle in the parking lot, he observed an ORV traveling down the center of a busy roadway at a high rate of speed. Using his radar speed measurement device, CO Liestenfeltz observed the ORV traveling 73-mph in a 45-mph zone. CO Liestenfeltz caught up to the ORV and initiated a traffic stop. Upon speaking with the operator, CO Liestenfeltz immediately observed signs of intoxication and it was also determined the only other passenger in the vehicle was a three-year-old. The subject completed standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) which were not passed. The subject blew above the legal limit in the preliminary breath test (PBT) and was placed under arrest. Sgt. LaLonde arrived on scene, assisted, and stayed with the ORV and young child until the child’s mother arrived on scene. The subject was charged with operating while intoxicated (OWI), OWI child endangerment, and exceeding the speed limit.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz and Sgt. Sidney LaLonde, assisted by DNR Wildlife Division staff, donated a road-kill elk to a local food bank.
Sgt. Sidney LaLonde and a Montmorency County Sheriff’s deputy responded to a domestic violence 911 hang up call in Montmorency County. The 911 dispatcher was unable to get any information from the caller except that they needed help, with several disturbances in the background. Sgt. LaLonde and a Montmorency County deputy arrived quickly on scene. The family was separated as a dispute was going on about a cell phone. A juvenile was not allowed to bring a cell phone into a residence which resulted in an argument between the parents and child. The juvenile was transported to a local hospital for a mental evaluation.
COs Logan Turner and William Kinney responded to a state land dispersed camping complaint in Grand Traverse County. Upon arrival to the campsite, contact was made with the camper. It was discovered that the campsite was only established for a week prior to the COs arrival. However, the COs noticed the subject had cut multiple standing dead trees, screwed various bolts and screws into the live trees to hang objects, dug trenches to bury his generator cables, planted cedar hedges for a privacy fence, in addition to neglecting to post a dispersed camping permit. After educating the camper about dispersed camping regulations, the camper was cited for other violations discovered. The camper also had multiple warrants for his arrest which were out of pick-up range that he was informed to follow up with.
COs Logan Turner and William Kinney assisted Wildlife Division staff with a nuisance black bear in Traverse City on Mother’s Day. The black bear took shelter in a large maple tree in downtown Traverse City. Given the holiday, the black bear brought a large crowd of families and neighbors out to see the activity. Wildlife Division staff tranquilized and removed the bear from the busy suburban area.
CO Amanda Weaver participated in a meeting with DNR Deputy Director Scott Whitcomb and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park leadership regarding the Platte River mouth. The primary topic of discussion was ways to increase safety and improve emergency response into Lake Michigan. With thousands of visitors and anglers utilizing this area throughout the summer and fall, options to improve public safety and ensure recreational opportunity were brainstormed.
COs Zackary Walters and Logan Turner gave a presentation to a first grade class on the job duties of a conservation officer and types of wildlife encountered in Michigan.
Acting Sgt. Joshua Wright, COs Bill Haskin, Sam Koscinski, and Jeff Ginn assisted the Manistee County Sheriff’s Office with a search for an angler who had fallen into the Manistee River the evening prior to the search. With assistance from the Northern Michigan Mutual Aid dive team and the Grand Traverse County drone team, the angler was located in the river and his body was recovered.
CO Josiah Killingbeck, while on patrol, was headed to back up a deputy who had numerous ORVs stopped. CO Killingbeck observed an ORV in front of him headed towards where the deputy was located. As soon as the deputy’s emergency lights came into view, CO Killingbeck observed the ORV in front of him stop and turn around. CO Killingbeck observed that the ORV had an expired ORV license displayed. CO Killingbeck contacted the ORV and the driver told CO Killingbeck that he had forgotten his ORV stickers and was heading back to camp. A passenger in the back seat said to CO Killingbeck “Don’t let him lie, he saw the lights ahead and was trying to get out of being stopped.” The driver later admitted that he knew he was not legal and was trying to avoid law enforcement. A citation was issued for the ORV license violation.
CO Josiah Killingbeck was requested by a local fire department in Lake County to investigate a wildland fire. CO Killingbeck determined that a subject had been burning trash in a burn barrel that had rusted out and was falling apart. There had been no lid on the barrel and the subject had left the fire unattended, resulting in the nearby woodland to catch on fire. CO Killingbeck also determined that no burning was allowed on that day. The subject told CO Killingbeck that he had no idea there are days when you cannot burn. CO Killingbeck educated the subject on burning regulations and a report is being submitted to the Lake County prosecutor.
COs Kevin Bunce and Acting Sgt. Josh Wright were patrolling Osceola County when they received a report of a black bear that had been shot the night before. Upon contacting the subject at his residence, the COs observed a variety of food scraps and trash strewn throughout the yard and on the subject’s porch. The subject stated he had accidentally left his screen porch door open allowing the animal to enter the residence in the early morning hours. Using noise tactics and one shot from his 20-gauge shotgun, the subject successfully scared off the bear, only to realize that the bear was not alone but accompanied by two cubs. The subject was reminded of the importance of securing his residence’s entrance points as well as needing to keep trash/scraps in a location that is inaccessible to local wildlife.
CO Angela Greenway was on patrol through the A&R Gas property when she encountered three individuals with a Jeep on the private property. They had stopped and built a fire in the trail to roast some hotdogs. They claimed they did not know they were trespassing. They said if they did see a no trespassing sign, it was to the side of them, not directly in front of them. The driver stated that if he did see a gate, it was open and it was not like he drove around a closed gate. CO Greenway had the subject put the fire out and she issued a citation for trespassing.
CO Jeff Ginn was assisting the Ashland–Grant Township Fire Department on an illegal burn when reports of a personal injury hit and run accident occurred a couple of miles from his location. CO Ginn responded and found a male subject had been hit while riding his ORV on the edge of his own property by a vehicle which had run off the roadway into the ditch. The vehicle then fled the scene. After assisting with first aid and the victim being transported to the hospital, CO Ginn assisted the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department and Michigan State Police (MSP) with the search for the suspects. After an extensive search of the surrounding area, a nearby homeowner flagged down a deputy explaining he had seen a male subject running near the scene. A perimeter was set up, K9 units from both agencies began a track. While getting into position on the perimeter, CO Ginn located the suspect vehicle hidden in the woods nearby and secured it for evidence. The suspect and passenger were located and later arrested for multiple charges, which are still pending in court including outstanding warrants.
CO Jeff Ginn responded to a wildfire in Newaygo County. He arrived and contacted two turkey hunters who located the small wildfire. CO Ginn assisted White Cloud, Fremont, Lilley-Merrill Township Fire Departments, and the United States Forest Service (USFS) with suppression. The fire cause has been undetermined and involved over ten acres of National Forest and privately owned property.
CO Josh Reed conducted stationary ORV patrol in the Trans Canada Gas Company property. CO Reed observed two four-wheelers operating in the game area and enter the private gas company property. CO Reed let the four-wheelers pass and followed further into the gas company property. The operator and passenger of the four-wheeler that CO Reed was following were not wearing helmets and had an expired ORV sticker. Contact was made with both quads; both did not have valid ORV stickers. It was determined to be a family trespassing to hunt mushrooms. CO Reed explained the trespass issue and issued a citation to the adult male for no helmet/eye protection and unlicensed ORV. Warnings were given for the trespass and other ORV not being licensed.
CO Josh Reed was dispatched to Morton Township for an in-progress recreational trespass. The caller had observed a male and female traveling down a seasonal road where a turkey ran in front of their vehicle. The male and female exited the vehicle and walked onto the adjoining landowner’s property, in full camouflage, with a shotgun. Upon arrival, CO Reed contacted all the parties involved. It was determined the male and female suspect knew the property was private, but the male said he also thought it was commercial property. The property was not thoroughly posted. Some posted signs were present near a gate into the property. CO Reed spoke to the landowner about re-posting his property. A report will be completed and sent to the prosecutor’s office for recreational trespass charges.
COs Breanna Reed and Jeremy Cantrell responded to a traffic stop with an MSP trooper out of the Cadillac post. Prior to the COs arriving, the trooper noticed fresh blood, turkey feathers, deer hair, and three .22 caliber shell casings in the car after gaining consent to search. When the COs arrived on scene, the suspect originally denied killing any wild animals then later stated that it was from a long time ago. CO Reed got consent to search the suspect’s phone. On the phone, she found the suspect holding two hen turkeys for a photo and pictures of a dead deer. The COs continued their investigation and interviews and were able to gain a confession. A report was submitted to the Missaukee County Prosecutor’s Office for taking two hen turkeys with no license and one antlerless whitetail deer during the closed season. A charge of taking game using an illegal method was also requested.
CO Matt Zultak observed a subject fishing along a trout stream in Roscommon County. The subject noticed CO Zultak while he was contacting other anglers. When the CO contacted the angler, the man had hidden his fishing gear behind a tree. CO Zultak asked for the subject’s fishing license. He advised CO Zultak he had just been carrying the fishing rod for a friend and wasn’t fishing. CO Zultak advised the individual he had been observed casting and reeling the line. Then the subject admitted he was fishing. He received a citation for fishing without a license and was advised and released on a failure to appear warrant out of Oakland County.
While off duty, CO Matt Zultak happened to be driving past a property in Roscommon County with known trespassing issues. He observed a large turkey in full strut on the property directly next to a tree posted “No Trespassing or Hunting.” On the other side of the county road, he witnessed a subject belly-crawling to stalk the turkey. CO Zultak continued past, but pulled off down the road where he could continue to watch if the turkey was going to cross the road onto legal hunting ground. The turkey did not cross the road but continued to chase a hen further onto the private property. CO Zultak observed the hunter shoot at the turkey. The turkey flapped up then landed and ran deeper onto the private property. CO Zultak contacted Roscommon County Central Dispatch for the assistance of a uniformed officer. Then he contacted the hunter and identified himself. The hunter stated he did not know the turkey was on private property or across the roadway. The hunter received a citation for recreational trespass and warning for heedlessly discharging a firearm without due caution for the rights or safety of others.
COs Ben McAteer and Matt Zultak attended a school safety day at Grayling Elementary School. They spoke to four fourth grade classes about the roles and responsibilities of a conservation officer and how to enjoy outdoor recreation safely.
COs Kyle Bader, Tyler Sabuda, Jon Warner, Brad Bellville, Jesse Grzechowski, and Sgt. Bobbi Lively instructed multiple students at a hunter education field day in Ogemaw County.
CO Kyle Bader assisted the Ogemaw County Sheriff’s Office in locating a lost mushroom hunter on public land. The missing forager had a mobility disability and had used an ORV to travel off trail. A sheriff’s deputy eventually located him and discovered that the man had rolled his ORV over approximately two miles off a two-track and was unable to right the machine and get back on. While conducting a search, CO Bader and a deputy contacted a separate mushroom hunter who had lost contact with her 88-year-old father. CO Bader used the Public Address (PA) system in his patrol truck to call the man out of the woods and find him safe and well.
After being reported missing from Montmorency County, District 5 COs led the search for an elderly woman who was living with dementia. Her car was located in Oscoda County on public land. District 5 COs were assisted by numerous other agencies including District 3 COs as well as additional law enforcement agencies and search and rescue groups. The female was located deceased after the two-day search. Although the outcome wasn’t what rescuers had hoped for, the family thanked all agencies involved for the closure they were able to get for their loved one.
COs Cheyanna Rizor and Jeff Goss received a complaint of a large boat dumped on state land in Gladwin County. The investigation was lengthy and involved tracking down previous owners. In the end, the COs issued a citation to a subject out of Arenac County for dumping the boat on state land. The subject was also ordered to remove the boat from state land and dispose of it at a licensed facility.
COs Josh Russell and Mike Haas were on patrol in Clare County when they observed a plume of black smoke billowing from behind a business. The COs located the fire that was burning on the ground without anyone watching over it. There were several items in the fire that could not be legally burned. They were able to locate the responsible subject inside the business. The COs explained that there were no burning permits being issued due to dry conditions. They also discussed the illegal materials that were being burned in the fire. A citation along with warnings were issued for the violations.
CO Dan Robinson was working northern Isabella County when he saw dark smoke in the distance. While working towards the large amount of smoke, CO Robinson heard the nearby fire department get called to the same location. Upon arrival, the firefighters advised that a subject was burning brush and other items and the fire escaped while he was not watching it. The resulting spot fire burned a large pile of rubber and tires that were nearby, it also spread to scrub brush along the railroad tracks. The owner of the property admitted to starting the fire and leaving it. A citation was issued for burning without a permit, and warnings given for the other violations.
CO Carter Woodwyk was patrolling Allegan County on the seasonal roads in the Allegan State Game Area (SGA) when he observed a vehicle drive by with a fishing pole hanging outside both rear windows. The CO noticed the front seat passenger was not wearing a seatbelt. The CO conducted a traffic stop for the seatbelt violation and discovered the driver also was not wearing a seatbelt due to it being non-functional. The CO learned that the front seat passenger had a felony warrant for his arrest in Allegan County. This subject was arrested on the warrant and taken to the Allegan County Jail, and the driver of the vehicle was cited for not wearing a seatbelt.
CO Carter Woodwyk was patrolling Allegan County by ORV when he observed an ORV occupied with two subjects, neither wearing their required helmets or eye protection. The CO conducted a stop for this violation and discovered that the ORV was not licensed with an ORV license and the occupants were exceeding the manufacturer's seating limitations of one occupant. The CO ran the vehicle identification number (VIN) on the ORV and discovered it was reported stolen out of Kalamazoo County in October of 2019. The current occupants were not suspects of the theft; however, they were issued a citation for their operation violations and the ORV was returned to the rightful owner.
CO Jackie Miskovich was patrolling in the national forest when four ORVs were riding down a closed national forest road. CO Miskovich stopped the individuals, and it was found that three out of the four ORVs did not have ORV stickers, two individuals were not wearing eye protection, and one was not wearing a helmet. Citations were issued to the individuals.
CO Jackie Miskovich was patrolling in the national forest when an ORV came up behind her. CO Miskovich activated her emergency lights to get the ORV to stop and contacted the driver. It was found that the individual had been turkey hunting in the area without a turkey license and that they were also operating an ORV on a closed national forest road. A citation was issued to the individual.
CO Jackie Miskovich was patrolling the Cedar Creek ORV trails when she was notified that a vehicle was stuck on the ORV trail on the north loop. CO Miskovich walked in on a person who was trying to get the vehicle unstuck. Contact was made and it was found that the individual had bypassed several barriers that the USFS had put up and had been stuck for several days. The subject had been driving while revoked and had not properly transferred ownership on the vehicle from the previous owner. An off-road tow truck was able to assist with getting the vehicle out of the remote area and the vehicle was impounded. CO Miskovich is working with the USFS regarding criminal charges.
CO Anna Cullen was checking anglers near the Muskegon River and contacted an angler who advised they had a bucket full of fish. CO Cullen observed three smallmouth bass in the bucket, which were all out of season. Along with that, the fish were all below the 14-inch minimum size requirement. All the bass were released, and a citation was issued for the violation.
CO Anna Cullen was patrolling a known ORV trespassing location when she observed a parked vehicle. Around the vehicle were several, “No Trespassing” signs. Contact was made with the occupants of the vehicle. CO Cullen observed several beer cans around the outside of the vehicle and determined there were several open containers of alcohol in the vehicle. CO Cullen verified both returned home safely and issued two citations for open alcohol containers.
CO Anna Cullen was checking anglers near the mouth of the Muskegon River when she looked across the river and observed two individuals actively fishing. CO Cullen got back in her truck and began to drive towards where the two individuals were. The individuals spotted the approaching patrol truck and quickly packed up their equipment and began jogging back to their vehicle. CO Cullen quickly parked her vehicle and caught up to the anglers at their vehicle. They defensively stated, “We weren’t fishing!” CO Cullen retrieved their identification and determined neither of them had fishing licenses. Each was issued a citation for fishing without a license.
CO John Byars represented the Law Enforcement Division Honor Guard by attending the 29th Annual Candlelight Memorial Service for the Michigan Concerns of Police Survivors – (MI - C.O.P.S). This ceremony was to honor fallen law enforcement officers of Michigan and their families. CO Byars was a wreath guard during the event and built rapport with several other agencies.
CO Lisa Taube responded to a complaint called into the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) about someone adding boards to an existing private dam to raise the lake level at Hidden Lake in Livingston County. Contact was made with the complainant and possible suspect information was obtained. The complainant is taking steps to have the boards removed to prevent a failure of the dam. Additional follow up will continue next week with EGLE detectives.
CO Cullen Knoblauch was patrolling southern Jackson County when he heard Jackson County deputies being dispatched to a shooting near his location with a suspect still inside the residence. CO Knoblauch and a deputy set up just north of the house where CO Knoblauch utilized the PA system in his patrol truck, attempting to contact the suspect. A short time later, the suspect exited the residence. The suspect was taken into custody and CO Knoblauch assisted clearing the residence, locating the victim who had a gunshot wound to his head. Ambulance and fire personnel treated the victim, however he died at the scene. The Jackson County Sheriff's Office continued to investigate.
While on a designated ORV patrol, CO Marc Mankowski spotted a dirt bike operating without an ORV license. When CO Mankowski turned the truck around to make a traffic stop, the dirt bike operator took off exceeding 60 mph. The juvenile operator was later located at his residence and upon investigation it was found the VIN on the motorcycle had been altered. The motorcycle was seized, and the investigation continues with assistance from multiple agencies.
CO Martin Lawrence was invited back to participate in the city of Canton’s Annual Fishing Derby for 2023. CO Lawrence once again worked alongside Canton’s Community Relations Police Officers with giving the area kids a chance to enjoy the experience of fishing.
CO Keven Luther patrolled Wayne County for marine, angler, and wildlife violations. CO Luther followed up on LED case reports, marine event investigations, and charter boat inspections. CO Luther assisted the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department instruct at a marine safety class.
COs Dave Schaumburger and Kris Kiel were on their way to Intoxilyzer 9000 training when CO Schaumburger received an in-progress tip that a pair of anglers had just filleted 12 walleye and were headed back out fishing. The COs met up and conducted surveillance in an unmarked vehicle at Libra Marina. Three hours later, two anglers and a dog walked out to their truck, matching the description from the complaint. The COs checked their vehicle and located 24 fresh walleye fillets, a daily limit for two anglers. The COs asked the anglers if they had any more fish, and they replied they did not. The COs went back to anglers’ boat and as soon as CO Schaumburger opened the live well, one of the anglers shouted, “Can I?” CO Schaumburger cut him off before he could finish his sentence and told him, “No, you cannot take a Canadian and American walleye limit in the same day.” CO Schaumburger continued his check and found 12 more walleyes in the live well, putting the pair of anglers 12 walleye over their daily limit. Citations were issued and fish were seized. Reimbursement will be sought for $650.
COs Dave Schaumburger, Joe Deppen, Brad Silorey, Ariel Young and Sgt. Damon Owens executed a search warrant at a residence of an angler who took two fishing trips for walleye on one day. The COs located 12 fresh walleye carcasses during the search, placing him over the daily possession limit. During the search, the angler also confessed to CO Schaumburger that he caught 12 walleyes that day. The angler has a history with the COs since he has received two tickets in the past for the very same thing. A warrant will be sought for possessing more than the daily limit of walleye.
Working shore anglers along the Huron River below Belleville Dam, COs Ariel Young and Dan Walzak spent a few minutes watching everyone before approaching to make their checks. When the COs walked down the hill from the roadway to the riverbank, the COs split up and as CO Young was contacting several anglers, a subject from farther down saw her and decided that it was time for him to gather up his gear and leave. CO Young observed the subject hurrying off, contacted CO Walzak over the radio and he was able to meet the subject as he reached the top of the hill. CO Walzak advised the subject that he needed to talk with him for a minute and the subject responded, “Yeah, I am just going to my truck to get my license. I saw the other officer and I knew that you would want to see mine.” CO Walzak conducted a check with dispatch through the Retail Sales System and it was revealed that the subject had not purchased a valid license for the year. The subject was issued a citation for fishing without a license.
COs Ariel Young and Danny Walzak were patrolling near Belleville Dam and contacted many anglers who were finding small success along the river. CO Young talked to one angler who had caught a couple of walleyes. After measuring the fish, it was determined that one of the fish was too small to possess. The angler was issued a citation for the possession of the small fish. The fish was later donated to a local family in need.
COs Ariel Young and Danny Walzak patrolled the Detroit River checking walleye anglers. The COs contacted one boat that was displaying an expired registration. After checking the rest of the safety equipment and fish on board, the owner was issued a citation for the expired registration. The owner was unaware that the registration expired.
CO Christopher Knights attended a salmon release for the 7th grade class of Martell Middle School. This was a school project that involved three different classrooms. The release took place at River Bends Park in Macomb County, where the class brought in a representative from different divisions of the DNR to speak and educate the students. In all there were approximately 100 in attendance with each one afforded the opportunity to release some salmon into the Clinton River. The students, parents, and faculty all enjoyed the experience and are proud to add to the state’s fishery.
CO Christopher Knights worked a Stonegarden patrol in Macomb County. Multiple people and boats were checked during the patrol. Two citations were issued, one for fishing without a license and the other for not having a PFD.
CO Christopher Knights followed up on a complaint on Bunny Run Lake regarding littering and illegal fishing activities. After getting another call regarding some anglers causing issues, CO Knights was in the area and checked the location. Two of the three anglers had licenses, the one did not. A citation was issued for not possessing a fishing license and the subjects were advised to clean up the area as there was trash and worm containers lying around the dock.
CO Griffin Korican worked a marine patrol with CO Jaime Salisbury on Holloway Reservoir. Multiple citations were issued for violations such as no PFDs, fail to register, and fishing with no license. On the way to and from the boat launch, citations were given to two individuals who were not wearing helmets while operating ORVs.
COs Joshua Salas and Cody Bourgeois were checking anglers along the Huron River when they observed an individual with a bucket turn down a trail and attempt to avoid contact with the COs. The COs were able to catch up with the individual and check him for fish. Through the check, the COs learned the individual had an overlimit of trout and was just hoping he had the correct amount because he did not check the regulations. The individual was issued a citation for the violation and the overlimit of fish was seized.
CO Luke Robare was relayed information that a group of turkey hunters were trespassing on property adjacent to a piece of state land. CO Robare walked the private property and located the hunters. They stated that they were unaware they were trespassing, despite the many “no trespassing” signs along the property. CO Robare issued a trespassing citation and encouraged the hunters to invest in a property mapping application.
CO Luke Robare received a complaint that a hunter had shot two turkeys this season. CO Robare contacted the suspect and he admitted that he shot two turkeys. His story was that he shot at a tom but thought he missed because it just ran away, so he continued to hunt. Later that same day, another turkey came in and he shot that one. When he went to retrieve the second turkey he shot at, he found the first turkey he had shot lying dead in the wood line. CO Robare will be submitting a report to the prosecutor’s office for charges.
CO Cody Bourgeois received a complaint from dispatch about an angler catching and keeping snapping turtles on Sylvan Glen Lake. The season for snapping turtles does not open until July 15th. Upon arrival, the CO observed the suspect walking towards the parking lot. The CO contacted the suspect who stated he did have a snapping turtle in his possession, and he was going to cook it for dinner. The CO issued the angler a citation for possessing a snapping turtle out of season.
CO Cody Bourgeois was checking anglers in Macomb County when he ran across an individual with several warrants. One of the warrants was confirmed for pickup. The CO arrested the individual and transported him to Marine City.
COs Brad Silorey, Dave Schaumburger, and Joe Deppen were patrolling the Detroit River in the middle of the night checking walleye anglers. The COs pulled up to a vessel with two anglers and asked how the fishing was going. The anglers stated that they had caught some walleye and a few pike. One angler stated his fish were in the rear livewell and the other angler had his fish in another livewell. CO Silorey opened the rear livewell and then asked the angler again if all the fish were his. The angler stated “yes,” and the other angler’s fish were in the bow of the vessel. CO Silorey asked if the angler knew what the limit on walleye was, as he had eight fish. The subject stated the limit was six and that he thought he had seven fish. The second angler was overlimit as well and in possession of a short pike. Both anglers were cited for overlimit of walleye and one for possession of a short pike.
COs Brad Silorey, Joe Deppen and Sgt. Seth Rhodea patrolled Casco Township near Adair for the annual sucker fest. The event draws many ORV riders to the area. Multiple citations were issued for operating unlicensed ORVs and open intoxicants.
COs Sydney Griffor, Bobby Watson, and Sgt. Seth Rhodea patrolled Lake St. Clair for marine activity. The weather was not ideal, but the COs still checked a handful of vessels. While approaching a vessel, the COs observed two anglers with eight lines in the water. The captain was issued a citation for fishing with too many lines.
COs Jaime Salisbury and Griffin Korican patrolled Lapeer County for marine activity. During the patrol, multiple ORV citations were issued along with multiple marine safety citations as well as a fishing without a license ticket. One man was also advised and released on several warrants out of northern Michigan.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll and Probationary Conservation Officer (PCO) Elliot Worel were at Sterling State Park checking anglers when they observed an angler fishing along the bank. The COs contacted the angler who advised he had kept a bass but was potentially going to release it due to its size. The COs located the fish on a stringer and determined it was indeed short. The angler was advised that largemouth bass were still out of season and issued the angler a citation for possessing a 13-inch largemouth bass and warned him for possessing a bass out of season. The bass was released.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll and PCO Elliot Worel received a complaint of anglers keeping largemouth bass out of season at Sterling State Park. The COs located the suspects and observed a cooler next to the vehicle, while talking with the anglers they advised they had a few fish in the cooler. The COs checked the cooler and located two largemouth bass. The COs asked the anglers if they knew what they had in the cooler and they advised they thought they were bass, but not sure. The COs advised them they were largemouth bass and were out of season. The bass were of legal size, so the COs issued a citation to the angler for possessing a largemouth bass out of season.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll and PCO Elliot Worel were patrolling in Monroe Township and noticed an ORV on the roadway. The COs stopped and cited the driver for operating an ORV without a valid ORV license. The operator was also given warnings for failure to wear a safety belt and operating an ORV on a public roadway where it is not allowed.
COs Andrew Monnich and Eric Smither were foot patrolling county property closed to hunting when they observed a turkey blind on a neighboring property with a bait site out in front of it. Upon inspection, the COs located cracked corn scattered about. The COs continued to check the area and set up on the location the following evening. Contact was made with the hunter who tried to use the excuse of growing a food plot. When called on his bluff, the man admitted to using it to attract the turkeys. The subject was allowed to return to his residence nearby to retrieve his hunting tags to show the COs as he did not have them on his person while hunting. The man was cited for hunting turkey over bait and a warning was issued for not having his tag on his person.
Sgt Shane Webster was checking fishing locations in Pointe Mouillee SGA when he encountered three individuals fishing. All three admitted they did not have fishing licenses and stated that they had warrants. One had 11 outstanding traffic warrants, one had nine, and the other held three. All jurisdictions replied to advise and release the subjects on the warrants. The subjects were issued citations for fishing without licenses.
COs Mike Drexler and Brandon Hartleben were on marine patrol when they observed a kayak operating with an electric motor that was not displaying registration numbers. During a vessel stop, the operator stated he did not have the kayak registered and the COs also discovered the operator did not possess a PFD on board. A warning was issued for operating an unregistered watercraft and a citation was issued for not providing a PFD.
CO Brandon Vacek was first on scene to a brush fire, started in a yard, that quickly spread to the side of a vacant house on the property. The homeowner and a few other bystanders were frantically attempting to put out the flames, but had no running water on hand, and were battling the intense heat being created. CO Vacek was able to deploy his fire extinguisher to the area beside the home, then used dirt to smolder the area preventing it from re-catching fire. The building was saved from any internal damage and only received a moderate amount of heat damage to the vinyl siding. The London-Maybee-Raisinville Fire Department with the assistance of Dundee Fire Department arrived with two brush trucks to contain the remainder of the fire which had spread in the dry grass onto an adjacent property.
While patrolling on Belle Isle, CO Dave Schaumburger had a vehicle drive past him at a high rate of speed. His radar indicated the vehicle was traveling at 51 mph, 26 mph over the speed limit. The CO issued the driver a ticket for his excessive speed and after issuing, the driver became irate with the CO stating that he “ruined his 51-year-old driving record with his first ticket.” The CO indicated that the driver was the one who ruined his own record by driving more than double the speed limit.
While patrolling on Belle Isle, CO Dave Schaumburger pulled over a speeding vehicle for going 58 in a 25-mph zone. When he asked the driver how fast he was going, he said he thought he was doing 28 mph. A citation was issued for excessive speed.
Working Belle Isle, CO Dan Walzak was passed by a vehicle travelling on Riverbank Road and clearly exceeding the speed limit. Radar indicated that the vehicle was moving at 41 mph in a posted 25 mph zone. Upon pulling the vehicle over, contacting the driver and receiving the driver’s license and other paperwork, CO Walzak advised that the reason for the stop was for speeding. CO Walzak also asked the driver if she knew how fast she was travelling and the driver responded, “About 30”. CO Walzak asked if she knew the speed limit and the driver stated that she knew that the speed limit is 25mph. When CO Walzak advised the driver that her speed was measured at 41 mph, she looked forward and said, “Huh, I guess I wasn’t paying attention”. The driver was cited for speeding.
While on patrol at Belle Isle, CO Ariel Young stopped a speeding motorist. Upon contact with the driver, it was determined that the infant in the vehicle was in no way properly secured. The car seat the infant was in was not strapped to the vehicle in any way and the infant was not in the safety harness of the car seat. After explaining the importance of proper safety restraints for children, CO Young explained to the young mother how to properly restrain the child in the car seat and how to strap the seat into the car. The driver was issued a citation for speeding.
CO Ariel Young and Sgt Damon Owens responded to a two-car vehicle accident on the MacArthur Bridge while patrolling Belle Isle. The vehicle at fault was not able to stop in a clear and assured distance in the congested traffic on the bridge. There were no injuries and the at fault driver was issued a citation.
CO Luke Robare was driving back from Belle Isle and made two separate traffic stops due to vehicles travelling at excessive speeds. CO Robare issued citations on both stops.
While working a Belle Isle shift, Sgt. Jason Becker observed a vehicle travelling at a rate of high speed. Sgt. Becker paced the vehicle at 45 mph in a 25-mph zone. Sgt. Becker conducted a traffic stop. When the driver was contacted, Sgt. Becker observed that his seat belt was fastened behind his back and there was an odor of marijuana smoke coming from the vehicle. Sgt. Becker conducted a sobriety check and determined that the driver was not impaired. A law enforcement information network check revealed that the driver had 16 bench warrants for past traffic violations and his driving privileges were suspended. The driver contacted a licensed driver to operate the vehicle. The driver was cited for driving while license suspended, careless driving and seat belt violations and was advised and released on the warrants.
CO Brandon Hartleben was working a Belle Isle shift when he observed a personal watercraft (PWC) towing without an observer in front of the Belle Isle Beach. Further observation of the PWC indicated that it also might not have a registration. CO Hartleben waited for the operator to come in and change out the occupants on the tube before making contact. Then CO Hartleben contacted the operator and the group he was with to assess the entirety of the situation. After meeting with the group, it was determined that not only was the operator towing without an observer, but that he also did not have a boater safety certificate. In addition, the PWC was not registered and came back as expired out of Texas in 2015. CO Hartleben educated the group on the various laws and issued the operator a citation for towing without an observer, and warnings for operating an unregistered watercraft and no boater safety certificate.
ENVIRONMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS SECTION (EIS)
Detective James Zellinger reports on May 12, 2023, a 34-year-old Macomb County man pled guilty to a misdemeanor scrap tire violation at the 4th District Court in Cass County. Detective Cerny’s investigation documented the subject was responsible for a load of scrap tires transported from Greater Detroit Resource Recovery Authority to Deerpath Recyclers in Cass County on September 30, 2019. The transportation of the scrap tires occurred by the subject’s company, who operated as an unregistered scrap tire hauler. The subject failed to maintain required records, failed to provide a record of shipment to Deerpath Recyclers, and made false entries to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy in an after the fact Michigan scrap tire transportation record. Detective Cerny submitted his case to the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office for review in March 2020.
Four misdemeanor counts for violations of Part 169 (Scrap Tires) of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act were authorized by the Cass County Prosecutor’s Office in February 2023. In May 2023, the subject entered into a plea agreement with the prosecutor’s office. As a result of the plea agreement, the subject pled guilty to one count of failing to register as a scrap tire hauler and the remaining three counts were dismissed. The subject paid fines and costs totaling $500.