Police Reports By Annette Christie
Seat belt enforcement results released; nearly 3,000 citations issued during the Click It or Ticket campaign With Michigan’s Click It or Ticket enforcement campaign now complete, preliminary reports indicate law enforcement officers from 109 local police departments, sheriff offices, and Michigan State Police (MSP) posts in 38 counties conducted 8,145 traffic stops resulting in 2,930 seat belt and child restraint citations between May 20 – June 2. In addition to issuing seat belt violations, officers during the Click It or Ticket campaign, issued 693 speeding citations, made 13 alcohol-related arrests, and 45 other felony arrests. In one instance, a deputy from the Calhoun County Sheriff’s office pulled over a vehicle for driving in the wrong lane, almost going head-on with another vehicle. Upon investigation, the driver had multiple warrants and was arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol. In another incident, a trooper from the MSP Wayland Post made one traffic stop that led to four misdemeanor arrests, three felony arrests, and four fugitive warrants. “Thank you to all the law enforcement officers who are working hard to encourage seat belt use – every trip, every time,” said Michael L. Prince, director of the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning (OHSP). “Motorists need to remember that buckling up is the easiest thing they can do to reduce traffic fatalities and injuries on Michigan roads. Our goal is to save lives, not write tickets.” Seat belt use in Michigan stands at 93.4 percent, slightly higher than the national seat belt use rate of 89.6 percent in 2018, according to the statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Buckling up can reduce the risk of serious injury or death by 45 percent. The Click It or Ticket effort is funded through federal highway safety grants and coordinated by the OHSP. Michigan law requires drivers, front seat passengers, and passengers age 15 and younger, in any seating position, to be buckled up. Children must be in a car seat or booster seat until they are 8 years old or 4’9” and children under 4 years old must be in the backseat. Treasurer warns of property seizure scam Berrien County Treasurer Bret Witkowski is warning residents about a scam aimed at local property owners. It is known that some residents have been getting letters marked as being from Berrien County and stating “Property Seizure is Imminent.” The letter says the recipient must call a listed phone number and pay the balance of a lien on their property over the phone. Witkowski says it’s a scam. The letter is not from the county and it is not official. Witkowski said that the concern is people will get the letter, make the call and then pay the amount listed due to the fear induced by the letter. Recipients of the letter should ignore it and throw it away. If a property owner is behind on their taxes, the Treasurer’s office would send them a letter clearly marked from his office and with instructions to call the office. As with all scams, residents are reminded to never provide any banking information over the phone to an unknown party.