The Michigan State Police, 7th District Hometown Security Team was in the area this week as part of an ongoing effort to reduce criminal activity in Sanborn and Ossineke townships, both of which have seen a steady increase in home invasions and theft crimes. As part of the MSP's new regional policing plan, these communities are seeing a steady increase in state police presence in response to these crimes.
At the request of Alpena Post Commander First Lt. Mike Hahn, the hometown security team has responded to these regions four times in the last six months, conducting fugitive sweeps, impromptu compliance checks on parolees with MDOC officials, and enforcing traffic safety laws. Hahn said the team has been well received by members of those communities with the exception of the fugitives and criminal suspects they've arrested and jailed.
The hometown security team is a rapidly mobile task force that works throughout the MSP's 7th District. Its mission is to improve public safety by enforcing traffic laws and searching for signs of criminal activity during traffic stops. It is free to concentrate on traffic enforcement and its search for criminal activity without the interruptions of being dispatched to the common complaints handled by individual officers.
The team was developed as part of a statewide initiative designed to intercept and deter the transportation of contraband and stolen goods on Michigan's roads, as well as to detect other crimes being facilitated by motor-vehicle transport. Hahn said the nexus between criminal activity and the frequent use of vehicles to facilitate those crimes is what makes the team so effective.
"Through their high visibility and good traffic enforcement, they are able to reduce traffic crashes and dangerous driving behavior, and while doing so, detect signs that there may be a lot more going on with a driver than speeding or not wearing a seatbelt," Hahn said.
The MSP Hometown Security teams also are used to enhance security at international border areas and critical infrastructures, as well as being available for rapid deployment to emergency situations.
Hahn said in the last two days, the hometown security team arrested 14 people while working traffic safety enforcement. Five were wanted on various arrest warrants, two were driving with suspended licenses, one for having open alcohol in his vehicle, one for a minor in possesion of alcohol, four for possesion of marijuana, and one for illegally transporting an un-cased weapon.
He said the team is just one of the many resources provided by the Michigan State Police, and the public can expect continued HST operations in Northeast Michigan communities, especially those consistently being victimized by a certain percentage of their population. Hahn said the stepped up enforcement will not end in Sanborn and Ossineke townships until there is a significant reduction in break-ins and thefts.
Also in the last few months, the Michigan State Police Alpena Post has partnered with the Alpena County Sheriff Department in helping Sanborn Township residents establish a neighborhood watch program. The citizen's watch combined with the MSP's regional policing efforts should, over time, diminish crime in the Sanborn Township, Hahn said.