Police and Fire Reports
By Annette Christie
Area departments taking part in holiday celebrations Socially distanced Santa hosted by Coloma Twp. Police The Coloma Township Police Department played host to the “Santa Drive-Thru event” on Tuesday, Dec. 15. The line to catch a glimpse and share a few words with Santa and Mrs. Clause went around the building and wrapped down and across the surrounding streets. It was estimated that over 100 cars waited to see Santa and over 200 kids personally got a chance to talk to him and Mrs. Clause out their vehicle windows. “This was made possible by Officer Dan, Rory Bell, Jeff Krozlick, Aiden, Apryl Watson, Tracy Tavolacci, Shanna Bell and Izzy, Chana Kniebes, and anyone else I missed,” Smigielski wrote.
Of Officer Dan (School Resource Officer), Smigielski said his vision on these events is second to none and they are proud to have him on the force making a difference for the kids and the awesome community.
Watervliet Fire & Hartford Police involved in holiday town events
At the Hometown Holiday event in Watervliet, the Watervliet Fire Department handed out cocoa and warm cookies to visitors. The fire truck was gowned in colored lights and a bright star that could be seen even from far away.
While the Hartford Police Department was unable to do their Shop with a Cop program this year due to COVID-19 concerns, a tradition they have done for 20 years, they are working twice as hard at filling the “Hartford Santa Toy Collection Boxes.”
Boxes can be found at various locations in Hartford including City Hall, Family Dollar, Dollar General and Harding’s. People that would like to donate can buy things for kids from the ages of newborn up to 18 years old and put the items in the boxes. If people are unable to or are too busy to buy items, the police department will be taking monetary donations. Checks can be written to the Hartford Police Reserves and can be sent in the mail or dropped off at City Hall. The funds will be used to support the cause. In addition, there will be donation cans at the gas stations and at Harding’s so that people can donate that way as well.
On Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 between 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., people who are in dire need of gifts for their kids, can come to the Police Department garage and choose a gift or two.
Attempt to elude police, fails in Hartford Twp.
Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott reports that one of his deputies attempted to stop a vehicle in Hartford Township for a traffic violation on Dec. 12, 2020 at approximately 5:30 p.m. While attempting to stop the vehicle it sped off in an attempt to elude the deputy. The pursuit which began near the 65000 block of 56th Avenue lasted several miles and at the conclusion of the pursuit the driver of the vehicle drove off into a plowed field.
The driver of the vehicle fled on foot running across the plowed field into a wooded area. Deputy Rowse and his partner K9, Bruno, were called in to assist in tracking the suspect. K9 Bruno tracked the suspect, a 19-year-old male from Bangor, approximately one half of a mile through the woods, locating the suspect laying on the ground attempting to hide from deputies. The suspect was taken into custody without incident and was lodged at the Van Buren County Jail on felony charges of fleeing and eluding, resisting and obstructing a police officer, and additional driving law violations. The following agencies assisted in the incident: Covert Township Police Department, Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, Coloma Township Police Department, Bangor Police Department, Hartford Police Department, the Van Buren County Animal Control Deputy and the Van Buren County Uniform Response Division.
Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaign
This holiday season, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is teaming up with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning to remind all drivers about the dangers of drinking and driving. Before traveling to holiday festivities or seasonal vacations, make sure you plan for a sober designated driver before enjoying an alcoholic beverage. This holiday season, and every day remember: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
We want our community to enjoy a safe and happy holiday season. With more drivers on the roads during this busy time of year, it’s more important than ever for us to stress the importance of safe driving habits, said Sheriff L. Paul Bailey. We know everyone is rushing around, finishing those last minute errands and attending various holiday functions. But before you ever head out to the festivities, make sure you plan a sober ride home, because driving drunk should never be an option. Help us spread the message: Even one drink is one drink too many if you’re the driver. “Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving”.
Between December 11, 2020 and January 1, 2021, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office will be partnering with numerous law enforcement agencies nationwide by increasing patrols while taking a zero-tolerance approach to drunk and drugged driving. The increased enforcement along with increased messages about the dangers of driving impaired, aim to drastically reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries on our roadways. According to NHTSA, 10,511 people were killed in drunk-driving crashes in 2018. On average, more than 10,000 people were killed each year from 2014 to 2018 – one person was killed in a drunk-driving crash every 50 minutes in 2018. This is why the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office is working with NHTSA and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning to remind drivers that drunk driving is not only illegal, it is a matter of life and death. As you head out to the holiday festivities, help us spread the word: Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving.
This holiday season, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Office, NHTSA, and the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning urge drivers to designate a sober driver before heading out for the evening. If you plan on drinking, plan on not driving. Doing so could change your life, not to mention the lives of your passengers, of pedestrians, or of other drivers and passengers nearby.
If you’re the designated driver, make sure you keep your promise of safety to yourself and your passengers. Stay hydrated with water and other non-alcoholic beverages. Support other designated drivers too. It can be a long night, but people are counting on you, not to mention the other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians on the streets. Take the role of designated driver seriously – people are relying on you.
Party with a Plan
Before ever heading out, it’s vital to plan ahead. Be honest with yourself: You know whether you’ll be drinking or not. Follow these ideas to ensure you and everyone else stays safe.
Remember that it is never okay to drink and drive. Even if you’ve had only one alcoholic beverage, designate a sober driver or plan for another safe ride home.
If you see a suspected drunk driver on the road, contact the Berrien County Public Safety Dispatch Center or your local law enforcement agency. Do you have a friend who is about to drink and drive? Take the keys away and make arrangements to get your friend home safely.
For more information about the Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving campaign, visit https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving.