LUDINGTON — Be warned Mason County drivers, there’s a new sheriff in town and one of the highest priorities for Kim Cole will be to increase patrols along the U.S. 10 corridor.
Today was Cole’s first day in the office. He was sworn in as sheriff on Dec. 17 but Jeff Fiers remained in that capacity until Dec. 31. Cole said he spent New Year’s Day swearing in Ludington and Scottville police officers and has been swearing in members of his staff the last couple of days. Deputies must be sworn in every election cycle, all police officers in Mason County are deputized even if they work for another department.
“I think it’s important for the sheriff to swear in the officers,” Cole said.
Cole said he will be holding a department-wide meeting Thursday. “There will be some adjustments,” Cole said. “We plan on easing into things and let the deputies and staff ease into a different leadership style.”
One of Cole’s campaign topics was to address safety issues on U.S. 10, particularly along the five-lane portion between Ludington and Scottville.
“This road is listed by the Michigan Department of Transportation as one of the most dangerous roads in Michigan,” Cole said. Specifically, an MDOT 2012 report listed the intersections at PM Highway and U.S. 10 and Brye Road and U.S. 10 as dangerous intersections, see related story.
While MDOT considers its options on the intersections, Cole said the sheriff’s office will increase patrols. It will also need the help of civilians.
“We are asking the public to slow down, watch the traffic light signals, wear their seat belts, avoid road rage and look out for each other. Help us make U.S. 10 safer.”