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Conservation Officer (CO) Jenni Hanson was notified of a floating log water hazard on Lake Gogebic. CO Hanson located the hazard and with the help of CO Zach Painter the two COs were able to drag the 20-plus foot log to shore.
CO Jenni Hanson transported an injured hawk that was hit by a car. The hawk was brought to UP Wildlife Rehabilitation - Keweenaw Group where it was cared for and received proper treatment. The hawk successfully passed its flying test and will be released back to the wild soon.
COs Phil Helminen, Pete Shambaugh, and Zach Painter were on marine patrol when they observed four people fishing on a boat. As the COs approached the boat, one person pulled up their fishing line and set the pole down. The COs contacted them and the person who set the pole down stated they were not fishing and just out for a boat ride. CO Helminen held up binoculars and said they had watched her fishing and she stated that it was her last day in town on vacation and decided to fish. A check of her fishing license showed she did not have one since 2012. Another person on the boat stated that they did not have a fishing license either. Both were cited for not having a fishing license.
COs Phil Helminen, Pete Shambaugh, and Zach Painter were on marine patrol when they observed four people fishing on a boat. The COs contacted the anglers, and one man provided an expired daily fishing license from several days prior and another man stated that he did not buy a license. A check of their fishing license history showed that neither had a valid fishing license. Both were cited for fishing without a license.
COs Steve Sajtar, John Kamps, and Cody Smith attended the 2023 National Trappers Association Convention in Escanaba. The COs were able to meet many community members and answer various questions related to trapping. Trappers from North America and beyond attended the 2023 Convention.
CO Jeremy Sergey assisted the Marquette Police Department with their Hunter Safety Class. CO Sergey covered the law section and described the duties of a conservation officer.
COs Jeremy Sergey and John Kamps were on marine patrol when they observed multiple people fishing on a pontoon boat. As the COs approach the boat, two of the individuals reeled in their fishing poles. Even though one of the individuals claimed he wasn’t fishing, the COs advised him they had been watching him fish for several minutes. Two citations were issued for fishing without a license.
Sergeant (Sgt). Mark Zitnik and CO Andrea Dani assisted the Michigan State Police (MSP) with a report of a possible active breaking and entering. The COs were first on scene and found the building to be secured and undamaged.
CO Brandon Maki responded to a one-car rollover along the Seney “Stretch” with deputies from the Alger County Sheriff’s Department. Both the driver and passenger were ejected through the sunroof of the vehicle due to not wearing their seatbelts. Miraculously, both subjects survived despite the vehicle rolling five times.
CO Michael Evink and Great Lakes Enforcement Unit (GLEU) Corporal (Cpl.) Michael Hammill conducted a marine safety patrol of vessels participating in the Manistique Sportfishing Trout and Salmon Derby. This year’s derby had more than 400 participants entered. The compliance level was very good in reference to marine equipment. One individual did show to have valid warrants out of Wisconsin with no extradition, additionally he did not have a Michigan fishing license. He was advised of the warrants and issued a ticket for fishing without a license.
CO Justin Vinson responded to a camping complaint he received at Dual Lake in Mackinac County. Upon inspection, all sites were in violation of either camping beyond 15 consecutive nights, failing to post a camp card, or failing to post a legible and or properly filled out camp card. Tickets were issued for the violations.
COs Mike Olesen and Justin Vinson assisted Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Wildlife Division personnel in releasing a cub bear that had been caught in a foothold trap. The cub’s mother was close by, so the COs had to haze the irritated sow away before Wildlife personnel could free the cub from the trap.
CO Cole VanOosten along with numerous COs and volunteers from around the state participated in the national trapping convention. The COs conducted an “Interactive Crime Scene” which gave participants the opportunity to assist in a wildlife investigation and gave individuals an in depth look at the job of a conservation officer. Total participation was estimated at nearly 500 children.
CO Nathan Beelman assisted the Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Department in searching for a missing elderly female who left her lake home in an unknown direction. CO Beelman assisted with searching nearby commercial forest lands and utilized his patrol boat to search the nearby lake. The female was later located safe after making it through the woods with only a minor injury.
CO Chad Baldwin discovered a pile of personal belongings, trash, and mattresses dumped on state land in an area frequented by dispersed campers. CO Baldwin was able to locate a name and began tracking down the individual responsible for the mess. After checking multiple residences and conducting several interviews, CO Baldwin was able to find a person who knew the suspect but did not know where he was currently staying. CO Baldwin asked the person to pass on a message and let him know he had 24 hours to get everything cleaned up or CO Baldwin would be doing more follow up. Later that afternoon, CO Baldwin received a text message and picture showing the site had been cleaned up and everything removed.
COs Duane Budreau and Jack Gorno patrolled the waterway connecting Emmet and Cheboygan Counties. COs Budreau and Gorno contacted a vessel with several anglers on board. As the COs were approaching, a couple of the subjects quickly put down their fishing poles and sat down. After contacting the individuals on the boat and listening to them tell how they don’t have their licenses with them, the COs were able to determine that only one angler on the boat had a license. The angler with the license had three in his possession. He had both of his parents’ licenses with him. He told the COs that he was under the impression that if there were enough licenses for the number of anglers on the boat, they were legal. CO Budreau advised him that if they were to share a license that would be another violation. Law enforcement action was taken.
CO Duane Budreau participated in the Oden State Fish Hatchery Visitor Center open house. CO Budreau had a patrol boat on display and talked with parents and children about the importance of marine safety, boating laws, and responsibilities. CO Budreau also took time to answer questions pertaining to all things wild and outdoor related.
Sgt. Bill Webster was patrolling south on US 31 near Eastport when he noticed a side-by-side travelling with the speed of traffic on the state highway. Sgt. Webster turned and followed the group of vehicles and noticed the side-by-side turned into a local market and drove around parking near some trees, trying to hide himself. Sgt. Webster contacted the driver who admitted he was wrong by operating on the state highway and for not having ORV licenses. The operator was ticketed for no ORV licenses.
CO Kyle Cherry was on patrol in Otsego County when he was checking a small creek for fishing activity. Upon pulling up to the creek, CO Cherry came across a group of three subjects who we attempting to get a side-by-side out of the creek. CO Cherry contacted the operator who stated he got stuck in the creek the previous night after getting lost. A ticket was issued, and the side-by-side was removed.
CO Jack Gorno attended “National Night Out” in the city of Cheboygan along with other local law enforcement. The goal was to strengthen the relationship between the community and local law enforcement. CO Gorno answered law-related questions and interacted with youth in the city of Cheboygan.
CO Jack Gorno responded to a complaint of an abandoned ORV on state land located near a state forest campground. The ORV had been crashed, and trees had been cut around the vehicle to hide it. CO Gorno able to locate the vehicle identification number, which came back stolen out of Kalkaska County. CO Gorno notified the Kalkaska Police Department, towed the ORV out of state land, and will submit a report for found stolen property. The stolen property is under investigation.
CO Jack Gorno found several ORVs on a closed section of trail that protects a wetland near the Cheboygan/Presque Isle County line. CO Gorno advised the operators they passed five ‘Closed’ signs before contact was made. All operators stated they always go on this trail and didn’t think to look at the signs. CO Gorno took enforcement action.
COs Alex Bourgeois and Dan Liestenfeltz taught a hunter safety class at Canada Creek Ranch in Montmorency County. New hunters were taught firearm safety practices, ethical practices, and laws pertaining to hunting.
CO Alex Bourgeois attended the hunter safety academy at the Ralph A. MacMullan Center in Roscommon. CO Bourgeois learned how to put on engaging and educational hunter safety classes for new hunters.
CO Dan Liestenfeltz was patrolling in Montmorency County when he observed a truck traveling down the roadway. When CO Liestenfeltz got behind the truck, the driver immediately pulled over to the shoulder. CO Liestenfeltz observed the operator not wearing a seat belt and one of the brake lights not working. As soon as CO Liestenfeltz passed the vehicle, it pulled back onto the roadway. CO Liestenfeltz positioned himself to make a traffic stop on the vehicle. During the traffic stop, it was determined that the operator had multiple cans of open intoxicants inside the vehicle that the driver admitted to drinking and driving down the roadway. CO Liestenfeltz determined that the operator was not under the influence and issued them a ticket for open intoxicants.
CO Paul Fox, along with several COs and civilian DNR staff, attended the National Trapper’s Convention in Escanaba. Various educational and activity booths were on display for adults and youths alike. Kids were able to participate in a mock “Who Done It” crime scene investigation, using some of the techniques the COs use. Hundreds of kids and adults were contacted throughout the event. The convention was well attended by people from all over the country.
CO Paul Fox followed up with a complaint of a subject shooting at deer from a roadway. CO Fox contacted the subject at their residence. It was determined that no attempt to take the deer was made, however the subject did scare deer out of their garden by shooting into the ground. CO Fox discussed nuisance deer issues and ways to combat them.
CO Jon Sklba was contacted by a subject in Presque Isle County who demanded reimbursement for damages done to his vehicle after he hit a deer. The subject was unsatisfied as he peddled away. Wildlife resources are held in trust by the government for the people of Michigan. As trust managers, the DNR is charged with the management of wildlife, but does not have literal ownership over them.
CO Jon Sklba reports that a subject from California who illegally purchased Michigan resident hunting and fishing licenses plead guilty and was ordered to pay the state back over $1,500 for money he robbed the state by purchasing resident hunting and fishing licenses instead of non-resident licenses.
CO William Kinney was patrolling Long Lake in Grand Traverse County for fishing and marine activity. CO Kinney observed several individuals fishing from a boat and contacted the anglers. CO Kinney contacted two anglers who had been out fishing for a while. During the check, CO Kinney discovered one was in possession of an undersized walleye and the other had been fishing without a fishing license. Enforcement action was taken.
CO Richard Stowe worked the Kids Cave at the National Trappers Convention in Escanaba for two days.
COs Logan Turner and Amanda Weaver participated in a hunter safety class held at the Carl T. Johnson Center in Wexford County. The COs instructed the legal and first aid portions of the class and then assisted with other stations throughout the day.
CO Josiah Killingbeck received a call of an ORV crash hours after the crash occurred. CO Killingbeck contacted the reporting person who said that he and another ORV had crashed on the ORV trails in Lake County. CO Killingbeck began an investigation and determined who the other driver was. A report is being sent to the Lake County prosecutor for the failure to report an ORV accident involving more than a $100 of damage.
CO Josiah Killingbeck and Sgt. Grant Emery assisted Department staff in putting on the first of the 2023 Bear Hunter Clinics at the Carl T. Johnson Center in Cadillac. Over 50 outdoor users participated in the clinic learning the various methods for bear hunting in Michigan, including various tips on how to be more successful. The class was well received with outstanding class participation and positive feedback.
CO Kevin Bunce represented the DNR Law Enforcement Division (LED) at the Osceola County “National Night Out” event. The event is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie. CO Bunce fielded a multitude of DNR-related questions while community members received an up-close look at his department issued equipment, such as his patrol truck and ORV.
CO Tim Barboza responded to a call for a suicidal subject who told his nurse he was going to shoot himself. CO Barboza arrived on scene and contacted the male. CO Barboza sat and spoke with the man while waiting for EMS and the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Office to arrive. During the conversation, CO Barboza learned the man had no family and lived alone and stated his reasoning was he was just getting old. The male agreed to go with EMS to the hospital to speak with someone there about what was going on.
CO Tim Barboza was patrolling the Muskegon River at Croton Dam and approached an angler to conduct a license check. The male immediately stated, “I’m not going to lie, I don’t have a fishing license.” CO Barboza verified that the male did not have a license and that it had been several years since he had purchased one. CO Barboza cited the male for fish without a license.
CO Tim Barboza assisted Newaygo County Sheriff’s deputies with a six person fight at a local bar. CO Barboza assisted in interviewing witnesses and suspects. During the investigation, it was determined that a couple had started throwing beer bottles and punches at bartenders. At one point, the female punched a window out of the bar. The couple were both arrested on several charges by the Newaygo County Sheriff’s Department. The MSP also assisted on the call.
CO Troy Mueller and Sgt. Mike Bomay assisted with a hunter safety field day at the Carl T. Johnson Center in Cadillac. The event hosted over 20 students from all ages earning their hunter safety certificate.
Sgt. Mike Bomay received multiple complaints of persons camping and living along the White Pine Trail near Big Rapids. The section of the trail is currently barricaded and posted closed for maintenance and paving. Sgt. Bomay was able to locate several personal items and signs that people are residing on the state land. The local homeless shelter has been contacted to discuss alternative living locations.
CO Josh Reed responded to Consumers Energy land referencing a stolen trail camera. CO Reed spoke to the caller who had taken a camera that was pointed at her dock on the Muskegon River. The caller said that the Sheriff’s Office was called, and her husband was arrested for stealing the camera. The caller wanted to turn the camera over to CO Reed. The caller said that the camera was hidden in a Rubbermaid tote next to their camper and permission was granted for CO Reed to retrieve it. The camera was located and returned to the owner. A supplemental report was completed and added to the Sheriff’s Office original report.
District 5 Area 1 COs conducted a marine patrol for the annual Bud Bash on Houghton Lake, in Roscommon County. While on patrol, COs Breanna Reed and Jeremy Cantrell contacted a personal watercraft (PWC) operator for operating greater than slow no wake speed within the safety distance of swimmers and anchored vessels. The operator of the PWC showed indicators of impairment. Field sobriety tests were conducted on the operator. The operator failed the tests and subsequently was arrested for boating while under the influence (BUI). A warrant was completed for the subject’s blood alcohol level and the subject was lodged at the Roscommon County Jail.
CO Casey Pullum assisted with a group patrol targeting ORV violations in District 3, Montmorency County. CO Pullum witnessed a four-wheeler come around a corner at a high rate of speed, sliding sideways, followed by a side-by-side and dirt bike. CO Pullum conducted a traffic stop on the four-wheeler and noticed the occupants of the side-by-side were not wearing seatbelts. After getting identification from everyone, he noticed a distinct odor of intoxicants coming from the driver of the side-by-side and two cans upright on the floor between the passenger’s feet which appeared to be alcohol. The passenger admitted the alcohol belonged to him. The operator of the four-wheeler admitted to consuming alcohol along with the driver of the dirt bike. After conducting standardized field sobriety tests (SFSTs) on all drivers, it was determined the drivers of the side-by-side and ORV were operating while under the influence (OWI) of alcohol. They were taken into custody and lodged in the Alpena County Jail. The passenger of the side-by-side was issued a citation for minor in possession of alcohol.
CO Jeff Goss located an illegal early bear bait in Gladwin County that was being monitored by a trail camera on state land. CO Goss seized the camera and started an investigation. The next day, CO Goss was checking the area for more illegal baits when he saw a local bear hunter’s vehicle parked on the side of the road. CO Goss stopped and observed a male subject walking back from a wooded area. When the subject arrived back at his vehicle, contact was made, and he told CO Goss he wanted to report that someone had stolen his trail camera the day before. CO Goss asked the subject to take a walk with him and they proceeded to walk back in the direction that he just came from. After they were outside earshot of the subject’s family in the waiting vehicle, CO Goss explained to him that his trail camera was seized as part of an investigation into an illegal early bear bait. CO Goss further explained that he suspected the man was coming from a second illegal bait and that he might as well just show him where it was at. The subject agreed and led him back to the bait he had just freshened up. The subject was ticketed for establishing an illegal early bear bait.
While out on marine patrol in Bay County, COs Paul Lyden and Joseph Closser observed a vessel trolling with eight lines and only two anglers on board. The COs approached the vessel and advised the anglers of the violation. Both anglers acknowledged understanding of the violation and admitted to knowing they were only allowed three lines each. The anglers were issued citations for fishing with more than three lines.
COs Adam Beuthin and Joseph Closser were on marine patrol checking anglers on the Saginaw Bay when they observed a vessel with two individuals aboard and seven fishing lines in the water. As the COs approached the vessel, one of the anglers was reeling in the seventh line. When asked about the extra line, the anglers claimed they were only switching up tackle which explained why there was a seventh line in the water. Enforcement action was taken and the individual reeling in the seventh line was issued a citation for fishing with more than three lines.
While on patrol in Marion Springs in Saginaw County, COs Nick McNamee and Joseph Closser witnessed two dirt bikes riding out of town with no helmets on. The two dirt bikes were stopped and written citations for the violation. While performing this stop, another man was approaching the stopped dirt bikes on an ORV without a helmet. He was stopped and issued a citation for the same offense.
CO Mike Eovaldi followed up on a 16-point buck that was found during a taxidermy inspection in January. When the suspect was initially interviewed, the hunter indicated that the deer was killed during the muzzleloading deer season. Evidence on the buck indicated that it was not killed in the winter, but likely much closer to the early season. CO Eovaldi and Sgt. Robert Hobkirk conducted a follow up interview with the suspect and obtained a confession that the deer was shot with a shotgun slug during the archery deer season. A report will be submitted to the Sanilac County Prosecutor’s Office for pending charges.
CO Mike Eovaldi received information of wood being cut on a state game area in Tuscola County. During further investigation, several ORV trails leading onto the state game area from private property were discovered. CO Eovaldi interviewed the private property owner and obtained a confession for both the ORV operation and wood cutting. CO Eovaldi wrote the individual a civil infraction for operating a wheeled vehicle on a state game area and gave the individual a warning for cutting dead/downed wood without a permit.
CO Sam Schluckbier was patrolling the Swan Creek shoreline inside the wildlife refuge when he encountered three anglers walking to the water’s edge. A check of their license was conducted as each one appeared to be nervous. One subject was carrying a bucket and a fishing pole. When asked what was in the bucket, he gestured that it was bait. CO Schluckbier gained consent to open the bucket and found an 11-inch smallmouth bass. The anglers claimed they did not know the species or the regulations. The angler holding the bucket claimed he caught the fish earlier. The fish was confiscated as evidence and a citation was issued.
CO Travis Dragomer responded to a report of a drowning at Warren Dunes State Park. CO Dragomer performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) until EMS arrived.
While off duty, CO Cameron Wright received a call of a man shooting geese with a pellet gun from the deck of his lake house. CO Wright responded and contacted the witnesses at their Airbnb just a few houses down from the suspects. CO Wright was able to observe two dead geese from the Airbnb and received a suspect description from the witnesses. CO Wright contacted the suspect and was told that he only shot towards the geese to scare them and that he was not trying to hit them. When CO Wright advised that two geese were dead, the man acted surprised and said, “Oh boy, I’m in a lot of trouble… aren’t I?” Charges are being sought in the case.
Districts 7 and 4 COs along with park rangers worked multiple shifts at Grand Haven State Park over the United States Coast Guard Festival weekend in Grand Haven. Over 1,600 contacts were made with the public visiting the state park. Of the citations issued: 22 were for alcohol, 19 were for not obtaining recreation passports, six for parking related violations, while 25 warnings were given. District COs along with the department’s Great Lakes Enforcement Unit assisted with on the water marine safety patrol and city fireworks safety zone enforcement.
While patrolling the Portland State Game Area (SGA) in Ionia County, CO Jeremy Beavers observed a subject walking near a parking lot with a bow and nocked arrow. CO Beavers introduced himself and the subject stated that he was not going to lie, he was hunting rabbits but did not have a license. CO Beavers asked why he was unlicensed, and the subject stated he did not have a lot of money and was hungry. The subject went on to say that he did not kill any rabbits today but got one last week. CO Beavers then informed the subject that even if he had his license, it would still be illegal to hunt rabbits, as the season has been closed for four months. While speaking with the subject, CO Beavers noticed an open beer can in the cab of the truck. CO Beavers asked if there was beer left in the can and the subject stated there was and he just opened it. CO Beavers removed the beer from the truck and emptied the can. CO Beavers then noticed the truck had an expired registration sticker on the plate. The subject stated that he recently moved back from Florida and has not had the opportunity to renew it. CO Beavers then stated the subject looked familiar and the subject stated they previously spoke. CO Beavers remembered the interaction and stated the day they met, CO Beavers was with his partner, and they encountered him as he was preparing to fish in the Maple River but did not have a license. They instructed he would need a fishing license. CO Beavers asked if he bought one and he stated he had not. CO Beavers issued the subject a citation for hunting during the closed season and discussed the additional violations and the penalties.
While checking Portland SGA, CO Jeremy Beavers heard shooting after hours. CO Beavers located the site and observed one subject empty a magazine from a rifle after shooting pop cans, spray paint cans, and a tree with a target on it. CO Beavers contacted the wayward group and safely unloaded and secured all the firearms present. The subjects apologized for shooting past closed hours and stated they did not know the times. CO Beavers explained that they also shot at unauthorized targets and that at no time, can you bring out full cans of spray paint and pop and shoot them on state land or use a tree as a backstop, firing hundreds of rounds into it. Once in the parking lot, CO Beavers noted that the shooters were associated with an unregistered vehicle. Upon mentioning it, the driver stated he was going to wait until his next birthday since it had been so long. CO Beavers explained that this was unacceptable and issued a citation for shooting after hours and warned the group for the remaining violations.
CO Jeremy Beavers received a complaint regarding an illegally taken deer from the 2022 deer season. Reportedly, the suspect brags about hunting without a license and buying his tags after shooting deer. The complaint included a picture of the subject with an 8-point buck that appeared to be untagged. CO Beavers also learned that the subject had never registered his deer and that he purchased his tag on the morning of the final day of firearm deer season. Upon contact, the subject stated he does not buy his tags unless he knows he is going to hunt. CO Beavers then discussed the reporting requirements. The subject stated he was unaware of the reporting requirements. CO Beavers was then shown pictures of the deer from the subject’s wife’s cell phone. One picture showed the deer where it was found after shooting. The picture had a date and time stamp on, with the time being 9:11 AM. The time was almost a full hour before he purchased his tag. CO Beavers then explained this to the hunter, who insisted he had his tag. CO Beavers then brought up the subject’s purchase history on his computer and listed the dates of his tag purchases. After a few moments of silence, the subject admitted to shooting the deer and buying his tag afterwards. CO Beavers then got the full details of the deer, the rifle used to shoot it, and the name of the taxidermist that currently had the deer. CO Beavers explained to the subject that he would be seeking charges for an illegal deer and recovering the deer from the taxidermist. The case is currently pending.
CO Anna Cullen and Cpl. Troy VanGelderen were patrolling Lake Michigan when they observed a vessel that looked to have too many fishing lines for the number of passengers on board the vessel. The two anglers had 12 active lines and were six lines over their allowed amount. Each angler was issued a citation for the violation.
CO Jackie Miskovich was patrolling Egelston Township when she witnessed an individual riding a dirt bike on a parcel of property that is closed to any motor traffic. CO Miskovich stopped the dirt bike and found that the driver did not have ORV stickers and they were ORV trespassing on the property. A citation was issued to the individual.
CO John Byars responded to a possible suicidal juvenile who had run off into the woods. CO Byars assisted the Leslie Police Department and Ingham County Sheriff’s Office by setting up a perimeter while the K9 unit attempted to track the suspect. Shortly after everyone was in place, the Ingham County K9 unit along with a unit from the Leslie Police Department located and treated the juvenile. The individual was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
CO Lisa Taube responded to a “Report All Poaching” (RAP) complaint for a fresh deer carcass found in the complainant’s yard in Deerfield Township. The complainant had seen this 7-point buck alive around dusk the evening before finding it dead. Coyotes had gotten to the deer, but after completing a necropsy, a broadhead tip was found. There is no suspect information at this time, but the area will be the target of future patrols.
COs Jason McCullough and Marc Mankowski were on the Kalamazoo River for a group jetboat patrol and assisted an individual who had capsized his kayak and was struggling to get out of the water. The COs helped drain the kayak and CO McCullough provided the man a PFD to use for the remainder of their kayak trip.
CO Wesley Butler attended the Chuck Gorman Youth Day event that is put on by Pheasants Forever. The purpose of the event is to get kids outside and learn hunting-related skills. CO Butler ran a computerized target shooting program for the kids. CO Butler demonstrated to around 40 kids the proper way to shoot a hunting rifle and the associated safety precautions.
CO Keven Luther presented at the Quality of Life Human Resources’ virtual community outreach activities intended to increase awareness of DNR programs and careers among at-risk youth within the Detroit, Flint, and Saginaw areas. CO Luther provided insight on the possible career paths one could take within the DNR Law Enforcement Division.
COs David Schaumburger and Keven Luther patrolled an ORV spot known for trespassing. During the patrol, an ORV drove past CO Luther and he relayed to CO Schaumburger it was coming his way. CO Schaumburger pulled out and stopped the ORV. During the contact, CO Luther spotted a second ORV behind him, that saw his patrol lights, turn around and speed off. He drove after the ORV until he found a truck at the entrance that was unoccupied. CO Schaumburger relayed to CO Luther that the operator he was with said it was his dad on the other ORV and it was their truck. Shortly after, a man walked back to the truck without his ORV. CO Luther questioned the man who said he drove it to his friend’s house because he did not want it to be towed. Both the COs and the two operators went to the friend’s house and had the man push the ORV out to the COs’ trucks. The dad was cited for ORV trespassing and both quads were towed away.
COs David Schaumburger and Keven Luther, while on ORV patrol, came upon two ‘dune buggy’ type cars operating in an ORV spot with known trespassing issues. The operators said they have been coming to this spot for ‘30 years’ and did not know why there was an issue today. The COs explained that they were indeed trespassing. Both operators were issued citations for ORV trespass.
COs Dan Walzak and Les Bleil responded to a complaint of a boater in Milliken Harbor who had not registered and had not paid any fees. Upon investigation, it was found that the boater had registered with the harbor, but he had changed slips because he did not like the seaweed around his assigned slip. While Milliken Harbor staff helped the boater resolve the issue of the slip, COs Bleil and Walzak learned that the subject had five outstanding warrants for his arrest. All agencies holding warrants were unable to pick up at the time. The subject was advised and released.
CO Justin Muehlhauser was patrolling for ORV activity when he observed two dirt bikes operating on the roadway. As the ORVs passed, the CO noticed that one of them had an expired ORV permit and the other did not appear to have any. The CO conducted a stop on the bikes. The CO determined that one of the operators was a 13-year-old and was not allowed to operate on the roadway under the county ORV ordinance. The adult was cited for the expired permit. The CO explained the ORV laws and ordered the operators back to their residences.
While working marine patrol on Lake St. Clair, COs Joseph Deppen and Brad Silorey came across a man who was standing toward the bow of his boat with a rope attached to the bow eye for stability and he had a PVC pole attached to the motor on the stern for steering. The COs could see the boat had no registration and they conducted a stop on the water. The mariner was cited for operating watercraft without registration and for not having any PFDs aboard. He was given verbal warnings for no navigation lights, no Type IV PFD, no paper registration, no registration numbers displayed, no fire extinguisher, and not having his safety lanyard attached.
CO Joseph Deppen was on ORV patrol when he noticed a vehicle operating on the roadway without ORV stickers. CO Deppen conducted a traffic stop and noticed the driver and passenger were moving suspiciously. CO Deppen observed the driver passed something to the passenger. CO Deppen approached and saw a cooler in the middle seat and could smell the odor of alcohol coming from the driver and passenger. The two admitted drinking a few before leaving their house and forgetting to purchase ORV stickers for the year. However, they both denied having any open alcohol in the ORV. CO Deppen asked the passenger to open the soft sided cooler to verify no open beverages were present. She opened the cooler and there were five unopened beers. CO Deppen moved to the passenger side of the ORV and looked at the cooler to verify they were all sealed. CO Deppen noticed the top of the soft sided cooler had two outlines of cans and as the lid was opened again by the passenger, liquid started pouring out both sides of the cooler. CO Deppen unzipped the top lid and there were two cold beers spilling out all over the ORV seats. Both driver and passenger admitted to trying to hide them as they were being pulled over. The driver submitted to a preliminary breath test (PBT) and was below the legal limit for driving. The driver was cited for fail to license his ORV and both he and the passenger were given verbal warnings for open intoxicants.
CO Sydney Griffor checked an angler fishing the St. Clair Boardwalk who stated he had caught a few walleyes and smallmouth bass. Upon checking the fish, CO Griffor measured a smallmouth bass that was shorter than the 14-inch requirement. CO Griffor also noticed the angler was using live gobies as bait and had some in a bucket. The angler was issued a citation for possessing an undersized smallmouth bass.
CO Sydney Griffor received a complaint of an individual who had an eastern box turtle as a pet, which is an endangered species. CO Griffor responded to the individual’s residence and spoke with her about the turtle. The woman stated she found the turtle named “Raphael” in another state approximately 35 years ago and he has been her pet ever since. CO Griffor explained the laws about possessing endangered species and advised the woman she could not keep Raphael. The woman was relieved to learn that Raphael would be taken to a wildlife rehabilitator to make sure he is healthy, then eventually taken to a local nature center to live out the rest of his life. The woman was given a verbal warning and the turtle was transported to a local wildlife rehabilitator.
CO Sydney Griffor attended the “Touch a Truck” event in Algonac with other law enforcement agencies, fire departments, first responders, construction vehicles, and several other different vehicles. Children and parents were able to explore the different vehicles, check out CO Griffor’s patrol truck, four-wheeler, and play with lights and sirens of the patrol truck. CO Griffor was able to answer several questions from the participants and show them the equipment and gear that conservation officers have with them each day.
CO Robert Watson attended the St. Clair County 4H Lake to Table event at Happy Day Fish Camp, where over 20 kids were able to fish, tie flies, clean and cook their caught fish, learn how to sharpen knives, and learn about the local fishery. At the end of the day, the kids were able to combine all the caught fish and have a fish fry.
CO Brandon Hartleben was patrolling Ford Lake when he contacted a bass boat that several subjects were fishing from. While checking marine safety equipment, it was discovered that the vessel was short a wearable PFD, a Type IV PFD, and a fire extinguisher. A citation was issued to the operator for failure to maintain marine safety equipment aboard the vessel.
CO Nicholas Ingersoll was watching for vessels at Sterling State Park when he observed one individual back a truck into the launch and then proceeded to watch two individuals sitting in a boat power load their boat onto the trailer. CO Ingersoll spoke with the driver of the boat who advised he did not see a problem with it. After a short conversation, the driver was cited for power loading at a state launch and warned for not having his registration on him.
While working on Belle Isle, CO Joseph Deppen observed a vehicle pass him with a cracked windshield and broken taillight, but the most obvious thing was the driver and passenger were not wearing seatbelts. A traffic stop was conducted. CO Deppen explained the reason for the stop and the driver said, “Really, for not wearing a seatbelt? This is Michigan.” CO Deppen agreed with the driver he was driving in the State of Michigan. Further checks revealed that the vehicle was not insured, and the driver was suspended. The vehicle was impounded, and the driver was issued citations for driving a motor vehicle without insurance and not wearing a seatbelt. He was given a verbal warning for driving while license suspended. The passenger was also given a warning about her seatbelt.
CO Joseph Deppen was patrolling Belle Isle when he noticed a vehicle parked in the fire lane. CO Deppen watched two men, one with a red solo cup, enter the vehicle a short time later. The driver proceeded to drive at idle speed over 100 yards of newly painted parking spaces. A traffic stop was conducted. CO Deppen could smell alcohol coming from the vehicle’s passenger side. CO Deppen seized two red solo cups from the vehicle and a passive test with the PBT showed there was alcohol in both cups. The driver was cited for expired license plates and possession of alcohol in a state park and a verbal warning for open intoxicants in a motor vehicle. The passenger was cited for possession of alcohol in a state park and given a verbal warning about open intoxicants in a motor vehicle. The driver passed field sobrieties and was allowed to drive off the island.
CO Robert Watson had a mid-week Belle Isle patrol. CO Watson observed a vehicle travelling approximately 50 mph in a 25-mph zone. CO Watson conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle. The driver very quickly became agitated. CO Watson informed the driver his vehicle would be towed due to not having valid insurance. The driver became very upset. The driver was issued a citation for lacking valid insurance, and his vehicle was impounded.
CO Mike Drexler was working an afternoon shift on Belle Isle when he and Sgt. Rich Nichols were dispatched to Milliken State Harbor. The park staff there advised a 40-foot vessel arrived over eight hours earlier and parked in a seasonal slip without contacting park staff, without a reservation, or paying dock fees. The COs issued a citation for docking or mooring without paying fees and park staff had the vessel towed out of the harbor.
GREAT LAKES ENFORCEMENT UNIT (GLEU)
Corporal (Cpl.) Todd Sumbera assisted District 2 with security details during the Mackinac Island Yacht Races.
Cpl. Troy Van Gelderen taught a Boater’s Safety Class at the Pentwater Yacht Club in Oceana County.
Cpls. Troy Van Gelderen and Brett DeLonge provided assistance to D7 along the Grand River for the fireworks show and heavy marine traffic experienced during the annual Coast Guard Festival.
Cpls. Troy van Gelderen and Brett DeLonge were patrolling White Lake after dark when they noticed bright lights approaching them on the water. The officers realized that the lights were from a bowfishing vessel running without navigation lights. The boat was stopped, and the operator admitted to not having navigation lights installed. It was also discovered that there were no PFDs on board for any occupant. A citation was issued.
Cpl. Troy Van Gelderen and CO Josiah Killingbeck gave a presentation to youths at the Camp911 event at West Shore Community College. The COs spoke about their careers and the hiring process.
Cpl. Mike Hammill attended the National Trappers Association annual convention in Escanaba, visiting the different vendors and answering questions from the attendees.
Cpl. Hammill and CO Mike Evink worked a middle-of-the-night shift in the Fairport area. The COs contacted one vessel that had extremely dim navigation lights; they advised that they were having power issues and would appreciate an escort into Fairport. On the way back to Escanaba, Cpl. Hammill noticed a signal on the radar, and a short time later a vessel was contacted trolling for walleyes in shallow water without navigation lights. The owner of the vessel had just purchased the vessel and couldn’t find the bow navigation light staff.
Cpl. Tom Peterson and CO Byron Parks responded to a call in Misery Bay for a missing child, possibly in the water. The COs were first on-scene and were informed he had not been seen for around an hour and he may be in the water. Lake Superior had waves over two feet and a significant current this day. Near the lake, the wind and wave noise made it difficult to hear any yelling or forms of audible communication. The COs immediately began searching for the 7-year-old boy in the water, following their best judgment based on weather conditions, including wind and current. The conservation officers searched the beach for another 2 hours when a call came out that three hikers had located the boy just south of their location. They responded on foot and began CPR efforts until a U.S. Coast Guard vessel could reach them, nearly 40 minutes later. Once the Coast Guard vessel arrived, the COs and one of the hikers waded into Lake Superior to pass the child off to MSP troopers and EMS. Sadly, the child was later pronounced deceased.
Several members of GLEU conducted two days of dedicated patrols in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. During the patrols, supplies and equipment for the upcoming Tuskegee detail were picked up from the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena and secured aboard the Hill. While there, COs were able to observe Tuskegee artifacts picked up over the last few years that are now in various stages of preservation. Several wrecks and dive sites within the sanctuary were monitored for dive activity.
GLEU officers have completed the third year of providing the Hill as a dive platform for the state maritime archaeologist, Tuskegee Airmen National Museum staff, and other volunteers to assist in the recovery of artifacts from the P-39 crash site in Southern Lake Huron.