Mason, Manistee sheriff offices, along with WSCC, purchase crash investigation equipment.

September 25, 2017

Mason County Sheriff Dep. Matt Warmuskerken demonstrates the total station.

Mason, Manistee sheriff offices, along with WSCC, purchase crash investigation equipment.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in_Chief

VICTORY TOWNSHIP — Crash scene investigators with sheriff’s offices in Mason and Manistee counties now have a valuable tool at their disposal, which will make investigations more accurate and more efficient. In addition, the technology will help train future and current law enforcement personnel at West Shore Community College.

Today, Mason County Sheriff Kim Cole, Manistee County Sheriff John O’Hagan, and WSCC Director of Criminal Justice Daniel Dellar, announced the recent purchase of what is known as a total station. The station was purchased jointly between the three entities. Normally the cost would have been $30,000 but WSCC received an educational discount, which dropped the price to $19,000. WSCC contributed $12,000 while the sheriff’s offices each contributed $6,000.

Personnel from Mason and Manistee sheriff’s offices, along with personnel from Lake County Sheriff’s Office, trained on the device last week. Over the weekend, deputies from Mason County used it for the first time following a crash at US 10 east of Pere Marquette Highway.

The device allows investigators to precisely measure and record distance and elevation. 

“Prior to us purchasing the total station, our investigators had to use tape measures to map out a scene, a process that could take hours, which meant closing down and re-routing traffic for hours,” Sheriff Cole said. “This device will not only make crash scene investigating more efficient, it will also allow us to re-open roads a lot quicker.”

Sheriff O’Hagan reiterated Sheriff Cole’s words and said that in the past Manistee County Sheriff’s Office would have to rely on the Michigan State Police to bring the equipment from its Traverse City or Gaylord posts.

The device will be housed at WSCC. Sheriff Cole said in the event of a crash in Manistee County, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office will send a deputy to the college to pick it up and deliver it to Manistee County. Personnel from Manistee County would then return it to the college when they are finished.

“This is about helping out the public,” Sheriff Cole said. “We believe this is going to be a great tool. We also believe that purchasing this through multiple agencies is a responsible thing to do with tax payers’ money.”

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