Dozens of new sheriffs will take office in January

Capital News Service
LANSING — In 139 years, Michigan has never had more new sheriffs than the state will get after Tuesday’s election. At least 26 counties will get new top cops in January. The Michigan Sheriffs’ Association said that’s a record since it was formed in 1877. Some are running unopposed. In other counties, two newcomers are runningf.

Michigan drivers still texting, despite ban

Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan has banned texting while driving since 2010, but many Michigan teens are still typing away behind the wheel — and so are their parents. Although a national study found reduced crash rates among states with a texting while driving ban, Michigan has not seen such a drop since introducing its own version of the ban. The recent study, led by researchers at Texas A&M and published online March 19, found that states enforcing texting bans had a 7 percent drop in hospitalizations from serious accidents from 2003 to 2010, compared to states without bans. The study factored in alternative components as well, such as changes in speeding laws, drunk driving, and teen driving restrictions, with the texting laws having the highest correlation. Michigan, however, has seen numbers move in the opposite direction, with accidents and accident-related injuries slightly increasing under its ban — from about 282,000 accidents in 2010 to about 289,000 in 2013, according to statistics from the  State Police.

Inmates not always treated for addiction, mental illness

Capital News Service
LANSING — Unpredictable behavior, irrationality, confusion, loss of control: all are symptoms of mental illness and signs of drug abuse. Although the two can be similar, problems of addiction and mental health have long been dealt with separately in county jails, Michigan Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Terrence Jungel said. Mentally ill inmates with drug addictions seeking help for their illnesses often are turned away from treatment because of their substance abuse problem and vice versa, Jungel said. When substance abuse counselors turn away drug addicts because of their mental illnesses or mentally ill patients are turned away because they have substance abuse problems, Jungel said the system is working against itself. “You’ve got two people pointing fingers at each other,” he said.