Two police forces in East Lansing work together to ensure public safety

Like many college towns, East Lansing is home to two police forces: the East Lansing Police Department and the Michigan State University Police Department. With MSU’s police force focused primarily on events occurring on campus, East Lansing residents receive the majority of the attention of ELPD. “Really there’s personalities to every neighborhood, and the more that you could localize the police to be sensitive and human the less violence that would happen during an arrest,” said Robin Lee Berry, an East Lansing resident. Since both police forces have been around for a long period of time, many people don’t think much of there being two police departments in the city of East Lansing. “I don’t know what happened at the beginning of time, (Michigan State has) always had their own police department as long as I’ve been paying attention,” said East Lansing City Council Member Ruth Beier.

Roadkill apparent on Ingham County roadsides

Streets in Ingham County are seeing plentiful amounts of roadkill throughout. Some residents are tired of having to deal with the lifeless animals. “One, I don’t like it, because if I’m walking down any of those streets, using the park facility or whatever, you can smell the dead animals and I have a weak stomach,” said Ingham County resident Quantez Bell. Bell has noticed a high volume of road kill and has himself almost run into deer, possums, and raccoons. He mentioned that one of the highly affected areas he has noticed is by the library in Okemos, and all along Okemos Road.

Okemos schools upgrade their safety provisions

Okemos schools have a long running reputation of being a top quality school district. “The reputation was outstanding and still is,” said Dean Bolton, president of the Okemos Board of Education. “My wife and I chose to live in Okemos solely based on the school system.”

However, parents are still nervous to send their kids off to school there every day. Kristen Brooks is a mom of two students in Okemos schools and is a founding member of the steering committee for the Secure Our Schools Organization. This organization promotes to keep doors locked while their kids are inside every day.

Violent crime in Ingham County still prevalent

Violent crime totals have remained consistent in Ingham County, fluctuating higher and lower since 1998. According to a crime analysis report conducted by the Criminal Justice Information center, Ingham County was number seven on highest reported violent crime rates in Michigan compared to all 83 counties. “When we talk about violent crime, you’re often talking about persons who do it over and over again, so it’s not like it’s a bunch of different people who are committing violent crime,” said Dr. David Carter, a criminal justice professor at Michigan State University. Violent crime is defined by the FBI as “aggressive acts causing serious harm to an individuals and include aggravated assault, rape, robbery and homicide,” according to an Ingham County Health Department document. Since 1998, the totals have risen in violent crime offenses within the county to 2014, according to the Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics.

Following Parkland, DeWitt High School starts active shooter drill classes with police and fire departments

DeWitt High School has started a program of classes with township fire department and police department staff to help prepare students and teachers in the case of an active shooter situation, Fire Chief Dave DeKorte announced during the  DeWitt Township Board of Trustees meeting on March 12. DeKorte, who leads the instruction in the classes, said the planning process had been going on for the last couple months, but the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, helped expedite the process. “With everything going on, it just kind of made the ball roll a little faster,” said DeKorte. The program is a daily occurrence, running between 45 minutes to an hour long, where the fire and police personnel visit three different classrooms to give formal instruction on what options they have when an active shooter is present. “Basically, teaching them: if you can, you run; if you can’t, then it’s lockdown in the room, you barricade the door; you get ready to counter, where you’re going to basically throw whatever you can at them; and swarm the person if they come in the room, and then hold them down until we get there,” DeKorte said.