Meridian Township PD enforces, evolves during pandemic

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Meridian Township PD Facebook page

Meridian Township’s police department responds via phone or in-person to complaints about residents not wearing masks and hosting large gatherings.

Meridian Township Police protocol 

To enforce Governor Whitmer’s executive order that mandates masks and restricts gatherings, the Meridian Township Police Department has been playing their part to ensure citizens follow protocol. 

Ken Plaga, Meridian Township Police Chief, the department is doing complaint-based visits. “If somebody calls with a concern with somebody not following the Governor’s order, not wearing a mask or having a gathering that is too large we will send officers out to conduct an investigation,” said Ken Plaga.

“Our goal is not to issue citations or seek criminal charges but we’ve been fortunate to receive compliance from most people that we come in contact with,” he said.

Changes within the Police Department

COVID-19 has also changed the way the Meridian Township PD operates. Simple changes around the department have made a big difference to many officers and Brad Bach, Assistant Police Chief, is one of them.

“Officers having to wear masks all the time, having to wear one anytime they respond to a call, while interacting with residents, sanitizing everything around the department,” Bach said. “It all has been a big adjustment.”

The change in how officers can respond to issues has been an adjustment as well. “We’re an organization that if you call the police we will come,” Ken Plaga said. “If you have a bat in your house, a cat in your tree, anything at all, we would always come. We were very service-oriented now a lot of times we are handling situations by making phone calls and reducing that person-to-person contact.”

Governor’s order

Starting on March 10, 2020, Governor Gretchen Whitmore issued an Executive Order which declared a State of Emergency in Michigan. Since then venues like the movie theaters, ice rinks, arcades, bowling alleys, trampoline parks, etc. are allowed to open but individuals are still required to wear face masks. Groups of up to 100 people are allowed to gather outside if they are socially distant, indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people at a time and the state is currently in Phase 4 of reopening. 

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Covid-19 cases from the beginning of April to now

Ingham County Coronavirus cases

According to the CDC, Michigan is currently 18th on the list of highest overall COVID cases by state. Despite Michigan having a high number of cases, Ingham County, where Meridian Township is located, only has had a total of 3,588 cases.

Cases have never exceeded 130 in one day. Between the first week of September to now, there was a dramatic increase in cases with the numbers starting at 13 on September 1stand getting as high as 130 on September 14th.

After September 21st, numbers have been almost consistently decreasing each day.

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