Police and Fire Reports
By Annette Christie Police asking for drivers to use caution around buggies The Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office is installing new caution signs to alert drivers of horse and buggy high traffic areas. Hartford Township, Bangor Township and the surrounding communities, including Lawrence, and Arlington Townships, are seeing an influx of Amish families moving into the area. The horse and buggy caution signs are now being placed around the rural country roads as the horse and buggy is the main transportation for the Amish. Buggies are required by state law to have a “slow moving vehicle” placard on the backs of the vehicles. Hartford City Police Chief Tressa Beltran said that most of the buggies are equipped with red flashing lights on the back as well as yellow lights on the front. Authorities are asking drivers to not pass too close to the buggy as the horse could be spooked; to slow down when driving over a hill or a knoll such as on CR 681, CR 687 or 48th Avenue, as there could be a buggy and the driver might be unable to stop; and to pass wide and slow around buggies. Many accidents have been caused by a car passing too close and catching the back wheel of the buggy. Parking areas in both Hartford and Bangor will soon be shared with hitching posts for the horses.
Domestic violence thwarted by Hartford Police
Hartford City Police Officers Misane and Sleep responded to a 911 hang up call at a residence in the City of Hartford on February 9, 2018. Officers found that a domestic assault had occurred. During their investigation, they found that 36-year-old Garrett Munro had assaulted his 26-year-old live-in girlfriend with the butt of a 410 shotgun. As the victim attempted to call 911, Munro took the phone away from her and destroyed it. Munro attempted to hide the shotgun along with a cooler that contained four bags of suspected marijuana. After concluding the investigation, Munro was arrested and charged with possession of a firearm, assault with a deadly weapon, interfering with a telecommunications device, being a felon in possession of a firearm, 2nd offense, felony firearms 2nd offense, and aggravated domestic violence, 4th offense. Additional charges pertaining to the suspected marijuana are being sought once the lab report results are in. Munro was arraigned in 7th District Court in South Haven.
Watervliet City Police Department activity
The Watervliet City Police Department answered 110 calls for service in the month of January 2018. They assisted other agencies on nine calls. The department made six felony arrests and 25 misdemeanor arrests. Police officers made 162 traffic stops with 45 traffic citations being given. The department is seeking two felony arrest warrants and three misdemeanor arrest warrants.
North Berrien Fire Rescue Department activity
The North Berrien Fire Rescue Department responded to 18 calls in the month of January with the breakdown being three in Hagar Township; three in Coloma Charter Township; two in the City of Coloma; eight calls on the highways; and two mutual aid responses. The department had one grass fire, zero structure fires, and one vehicle accident. In an effort to raise funds for three new thermal imaging cameras, the North Berrien Fire Rescue Department and the Auxiliary are hosting a Trivia Night on March 3, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at the Coloma FOP Lodge on Angling Road. Food will be available and the FOP bar will be open. The cost is $100 per team of ten persons. Cash prizes will be distributed to the winners. Those interested in registering or the various sponsoring opportunities should contact a North Berrien firefighter or any Auxiliary member.
Van Buren County investigating several breakings and entering Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel E. Abbott reports on January 30, 2018 at approximately 7:10 p.m., deputies responded to the 65000 block of Front St. on Van Auken Lake in reference to several breakings and entering. Deputies arrived on scene and determined five residences were broke into with multiple items stolen from each. Deputies discovered boot impressions in the snow around the residences believed to be size 10 to 13. Tire impressions in the snow, believed to be from a smaller car or pickup truck were also discovered at the scene. Deputies believe the suspect backed in between two residences where the stolen items were then loaded into the vehicle. Deputies recovered a pry bar from the scene believed to have been used by the suspect to enter the residences. On January 31, 2018, the South Haven Police Department had similar break-ins in the Windingwoods subdivision where the same boot impressions as above were recovered. Both of these incidents remain open pending further investigation and are believed to be related. Anyone with information can contact the Van Buren County Sheriff’s Office at (269) 657-3101, Crime Stoppers 1-800-342-7867, Silent Observer (269) 343-2100, or the local police department.