Plans to give lifesaving awards after local fire
By Barb Pert Templeton
Members of the Algonac City Council recently had St. Clair County Sheriff Mat King attend a meeting to give a brief presentation related to the latest activities providing law enforcement coverage for the city.
At a regular meeting of the council on Jan. 18, King said the number of calls for service was up from 2,726 in 2020 to 3,034 in 2021.
“There were some ups and down in other categories as well, but all in all nothing totally out of the ordinary, traffic stops were up quite a bit over 200 and we’re happy about that, tickets more than doubled,” King said.
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Another category that was up over 200 was school assistance, checks, and walk-throughs which King said he likes to see because it means people are paying attention and getting ahead of things.
Other city-states included three death investigations just outside the city and King informed the council that the program is changing and soon the Medical Examiner (ME)will be handling all the death investigations as is the case in most communities.
“We have been taking care of those responsibilities for some time for the medical examiner,” King said.
After conducting a study, the sheriff’s department checked with other counties and saw that they are one of only a few counties in the state who handle death investigations. King said that happened simply due to a lack of death investigators in the smaller communities and seeing medical examiners retiring or moving on. The work became a burden for the Sheriff’s Department whose officers were needed in other areas and weren’t always fully trained to be death investigators.
“We approached the ME’s office and advised them that we weren’t trained and we can’t be taking people out of our contracted areas or way out of the area and eating up our time,” King said. “Shortly thereafter they came up with a contract and so this should not be a problem in the future, the ME’s office is due to take over those responsibilities in a couple of weeks.”
King said officers will obviously still go to those calls but the respective jurisdictions will handle their own and not be called from their own communities.
Mayor Terry Stoneburner asked if the medical examiner King was referring to would be the Macomb County Examiner? He said yes, that would be Dr. Daniel Spitz who has been the ME for St. Clair County and he has a private business that the county contracts through and it will now grow and he’ll be hiring some additional help to do the death investigations.
Mayor Pro Tem Michael Bembas asked King if he felt he was getting enough support from the council or if there was anything else they could do to be of assistance.
“The support that the Algonac City Board and working with your city manager, it’s really a special relationship and I can’t say enough about whatever we seem to need the phone is always answered and the communication is terrific,” King said. “That has a lot to do with Denice (Gerstenberg, city manager) and all of her hard work thinking ahead and her experience.”
“I don’t often fail to come up with something when somebody asks do you want something but, in this case, I’d say more of the same,” he added.
King said he appreciates all the communication; doesn’t feel he’s missing anything and is never blind-sided by anything.
Awards for fire response planned
While still addressing the city council, King said his department will soon be giving out some awards, including several for life-saving, related to a recent fire in the city. The Nov. 18 blaze at the Rollingbrook Apartments occurred at 11:50 a.m., damaged 24 units, and displaced 23 residents.
King said he was on the scene and stayed out of the way as “a good boss should.”
“I was on the scene, the fire was horrific we all know the story and we know how the community has stepped up,” King said, noting that officers from many jurisdictions were on the scene including those from Michigan State Police and Clay Township, to name a few.
He said they no doubt saved a lot of lives and his department will be presenting some lifesaving awards and will communicate with the council to see when a good date might be to return to the council chambers to present the awards.
The St. Clair County Sheriff provides police protection for Algonac residents and enforces all state laws and city criminal, civil and traffic ordinances within the city of Algonac.
The current agreement for law enforcement services between the city of Algonac and the St. Clair County Sheriff was approved by the city council on July 6, 2021, to renew the contract for a three-year period commencing on Oct. 1, 2021, through Sept. 30, 2024.