11-23-2017 Police News

Fire and Police Reports

By Annette Christie

Safety first and foremost this Thanksgiving holiday

Area firefighters would like to remind residents as they plan their Thanksgiving menu to not forget about fire safety.  Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires.  The number of house fires doubles on Thanksgiving.  Watervliet Fire Chief Dan Jones states, “Let’s add a pinch of fire safety to the menu.”

If roasting a turkey, be sure to set a timer. This being that the turkey will not be forgotten as family and friends watch the parade or football.

When frying a turkey it is suggested to use a fryer with thermostat controls, ensuring that the oil does not become over heated.  North Berrien Fire Chief Michael Mattix states, “Make sure that the bird is completely thawed and dry.”

When deep frying a turkey, don’t overfill the pot with oil.  The results if you do will be the oil will overflow when you add the turkey causing a fire hazard.  Children and pets should be kept at least three feet away from the fryer. One last thing, always use the fryer outdoors.

When cooking at the stove, stand by it especially when boiling potatoes or frying onions for stuffing. “It is best to stay in the kitchen when you are frying, boiling or broiling,” states Jones. Being in the kitchen makes it easier to catch spills or hazardous conditions before they become a fire.

Keep the kitchen area around the stove clear of packaging, paper towels, and dishcloths and be sure to clean up any spills as they happen. To be best prepared, keep a large pan lid or baking sheet handy in case there is a need to smother a pan fire. Always turn pot handles towards the back of the stove so they don’t get bumped.

Chief Dan Jones concludes, “By following these safety tips, you will have a delicious and fire safe Thanksgiving. Let the firefighters have dinner with their families, not yours.”

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

The end of November is traditionally marked by Thanksgiving events.  The long weekend is typically celebrated through dinners, sports activities, and shopping as families and friends enjoy the waning days of autumn. Thanksgiving can also be deadly, with impaired drivers endangering themselves and others on America’s roadways.

Law enforcement officers from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office and other neighboring departments will be watching this Thanksgiving weekend.  “If we see you driving while impaired we will stop and arrest you,” Berrien County Sheriff L. Paul Bailey said adding, “No second chances.”

The high visibility enforcement campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” runs from November 22 through December 10, 2017. During this period, local law enforcement will show zero tolerance for impaired driving. Increased state and national messages about the dangers of driving impaired coupled with enforcement and increased officers on the road aim to drastically reduce impaired driving on the nation’s roadway.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 10,265 fatalities in 2015 in motor vehicle crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. This accounted for 29 percent of all traffic fatalities nationwide for the year.

In the United States, a person is killed in a drunken driving crash every 51 minutes, reports Bailey.

In Michigan, 10 people lost their lives during the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday period, and throughout the year, there were 416 people that died in Michigan as a result of alcohol and/or drug involved traffic crashes.

This Thanksgiving weekend, remember, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.

Watervliet City Police activity

For the month of October, the Watervliet Police Department responded to 92 calls for service.  They made four felony arrests and 18 misdemeanor arrests.

The department made 160 traffic stops and wrote 43 citations.

Officers assisted with the traffic control for the downtown trick-or-treat as well as providing extra officers on patrol during the neighborhood trick-or-treat event.

SWET rounds up more drug offenders

On Wednesday, November 15, 2017, Southwest Enforcement Team (SWET) – West Detectives along with members of the Michigan State Police executed a search warrant for illegal narcotics at 212 Shepard St., in the City of Hartford.

This search warrant was a result of a two-month investigation into the sale and distribution of crystal methamphetamine from the residence. SWET West Detectives executed the search and seized approximately a half ounce of crystal methamphetamine, approximately a half pound of marijuana, and other items related to the distribution of narcotics from the residence.

Glynn Dunn, 31, and Tabitha Nobel, 24, were arrested and lodged at the Van Buren County Jail on several felony drug charges.

Also on November 15, an arrest operation and search warrant was conducted in the City of Benton Harbor.

Eli Demontrail Walker, 45, was arrested following a four-month investigation into the distribution of crack cocaine. SWET detectives were able to start an investigation showing that Walker was selling crack cocaine in the Benton Harbor area. He was arrested on five counts of delivery of crack cocaine.

Two days prior, an arrest operation was conducted in Benton Harbor, also for the distribution of crack cocaine.

Demetrius Lashawn Jefferson, 24, was arrested following a month-long investigation into the distribution of crack cocaine. There have been numerous complaints and information about drug sales in the 900 block of Buss Avenue. Jefferson was arrested on two counts of delivery of crack cocaine and resisting arrest.

SWET is comprised of sworn law enforcement personnel from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police, Barry County Sheriff’s Office, Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Office, Kalamazoo Township Police Department, South Haven Police Department, Covert Police Department, and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office.

SWET is funded in part by the Michigan High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area as well as the U.S. Department of Justice, Byrne JAG Grant.

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