LPD sees decrease in calls.
By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.
LUDINGTON — Ludington Police Department responded to 2,394 less calls in 2016 than it did in 2015, according to a report by Police Chief Mark Barnett. Barnett is expected to present the department’s annual report during the regular meeting of the City Council at 6:30 p.m. tonight.
The number of complaints investigated decreased by 594 while the department made 119 less arrests and three less parking violation citations. Traffic citations increased by 124, however.
In 2016 there were 35 fewer reported “person crimes” than in 2015 and there were 70 less “property crimes” in 2016 compared in 2015.
“In 2016 we experienced a decrease of 248 of the most problematic public order crimes as compared to 2016,” Barnett stated in his report.
The department has also been down a full time officer since 2009.
“As you know a large portion of the department’s activity is ‘officer initiated,’” Barnett said. “With fewer officers there is generally a reduction in proactive enforcement activity.”
In 2016, LPD responded to four separate incidents in which they administered the counteractive drug, Narcan, to victims of opiate overdoses. “The Narcan was effective in bringing all four victims out of the overdoses,” Barnett said.
The department investigated and made arrests in two separate criminal sexual conduct cases that resulted in convictions and prison sentences.
In April 2016, Scott Samuel-Ray MacArthur, 21, of 713 East Filer St., was arrested for criminal sexual conduct third degree and accosting a child for immoral purposes; he was also a habitual offender. MacArthur pled guilty and was sentenced to a 3.5 to 16.5 years in prison for his crime against a 14-year-old girl.
“The significant issue was the suspect was recently released (from incarceration) and still on probation for stalking and domestic violence related charges when he was arrested in this case,” Barnett said.
In February 2016, Arturo Ruiz Lopez, 59, of 605 S. Washington Ave., was arrested for long-term, on-going sexual assaults of multiple minor victims. He was convicted and is serving a prison sentence of 7 to 15 years.
From August until October 2016, 16 larcenies took place in the city, 10 of which were in vehicles.
“Information was developed on suspects potentially involved,” Barnett said. “The investigation of these incidents resulted in the apprehension of five juveniles and a portion of the property was recovered. During the followup of this case more victims were discovered as well.”
All five were adjudicated in Mason County Juvenile Court.
Barnett also talked about the murder case of 4-month-old Katherine “Baby Kate” Phillips and the conviction of her father, Sean Michael Phillips. Phillips was found guilty in 51st Circuit Court for second degree murder and sentenced to 19 to 45 years in prison, concurrent to his present sentence of unlawful imprisonment (kidnapping) of the girl in 2011.
Barnett pointed out some of the programs the LPD is involved with including:
Senior outreach program, which is an effort to help Ludington’s senior residents who may be isolated. The program is geared towards seniors living in the area who may have no friends or family nearby and who do not have a support system in place. Officers periodically check in with the individuals in the program to make sure their basic needs are being met. Currently three citizens are being monitored, Barnett said.
“Thankfully we do not see a huge number of individuals in the program, however we do believe that this is a good way to keep a citizen from ‘falling through the cracks,’” the Chief said.
The department’s volunteer reserve marine officers staffed the fire and police boat and conducted 27 missions including one rescue an an overboard kayaker who was suffering from hypothermia.
The department’s digital forensic laboratory, which is staffed by a volunteer, processed 77 devices in 2016 in 16 different cases. While the majority of the cases for analysis were submitted by the LPD, the lab was also utilized by Mason County Sheriff’s Office, SSCENT (State, Sheriff’s, Chief’s Enforcement of Narcotics Team), Oceana County Sheriff’s Office, and Hart Police Department.