City police officers receive MADD awards

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Pictured from the left, Mt. Pleasant police officers Mike Covarrubias, Kipp Moe, Kurt Solmonson and Jeff Thompson. 

Four City police officers have been recognized by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) of Michigan for their work to put an end to impaired driving in the Mt. Pleasant community.

Officer Jeff Thompson received MADD’s Outstanding Officer Award, a statewide recognition honoring members of law enforcement who made a difference in 2016 in reducing drunk driving deaths and injuries through education, prevention, policy or enforcement. Officer Thompson led the department last year with 54 operating while impaired (OWI) arrests. The award was presented to Thompson last month during the Lifesavers Recognition Luncheon presented by MADD Michigan.

Officers Mike Covarrubias, Kipp Moe and Kurt Solmonson have been named MADD Salute Award winners as they each made more than 25 OWI arrests last year.

Together, the four officers made 154 OWI arrests in 2016.

Police Capt. Andy Latham graduates from FBI National Academy

Andy Latham National Academy
Police Capt. Andy Latham (center) with FBI National Academy classmate Dulgunn Ganbat (left) of Mongolia and an embassy representative (right) during “International Night,” where international students provided food from their country for all to enjoy. 

Police Capt. Andy Latham graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) National Academy this month, making him the fifth officer from the Mt. Pleasant Police Department (MPPD) to complete the prestigious program. Held at the FBI campus in Quantico, VA, the ten-week academy is designed specifically for leaders in law enforcement and serves to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies at home and abroad.

Latham first learned of the National Academy several years ago when the lieutenant for MPPD at the time graduated from the program. “It was after listening to him tell of his experience that I made it my goal to attend the academy,” said Latham. “So, when the opportunity presented itself for me to apply, I did.”

Attendance is by invitation only, and Latham was one of approximately 220 leaders in law enforcement from all over the world selected to take part. “The most rewarding part of the program was meeting all of the folks from around our country and the world,” said Latham. “I realized that no matter the size of the agency or resources available, we all try to police our communities the best we can. No matter where you’re from, there is a great deal of support and camaraderie among law enforcement worldwide.”

During the program, Latham completed specialized trainings and fitness challenges, as well as rigorous coursework through the University of Virginia focused on leadership, behavioral science, communication in law and more.

“I’m very thankful to all who had a hand in allowing me to attend the academy, and to those who took on my duties while I was away,” he said. “Without a doubt, this includes my wife.”

Previous graduates of the program include current Mt. Pleasant Director of Public Safety Paul Lauria and Sergeant Dan Gaffka. The City’s former Director of Public Safety Bill Yeagley and former Lieutenant Jeff Shell also attended the academy.

Mt. Pleasant Police Department statistics from start of the fall semester at Central Michigan University

This weekend, thousands of student residents arrived to the area for the start of the fall semester at Central Michigan University. The Mt. Pleasant Police Department responded to several calls for service and generated a number of citations from 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24 to 7 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27. Please see the weekend’s statistics below:

Arrested or Received Citation:

  • 8 Disorderly Conduct
  • 1 Disturbing the Peace
  • 1 Driving While License Suspended
  • 40 Minor in Possession of Alcohol
  • 3 Nuisance Party-Attending
  • 9 Nuisance Party-Hosting
  • 64 Open Intoxicants
  • 6 OWI
  • 3 Possession of Drugs
  • 11 Traffic Citations
  • 3 Warrant Arrest

Calls for Service:

  • There were 97 calls for service from 7 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 24 to 7 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 25.
  • There were 199 calls for service from 7 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 25 to 7 a.m. on Saturday,
    Aug. 26.
  • There were 145 calls for service from 7 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 26. To 7 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 27.

In 2014, the City of Mt. Pleasant developed a multi-year plan to address the history of violations and increasing tension among residents in the neighborhood north of Central Michigan University’s campus where owner-occupied properties and student rentals are intermingled. To decrease disruptive behavior and improve relationships between the full- and part-year residents, City officials have worked to improve partnerships with local landlords, CMU and its students, as well as enforce ordinances on a more consistent basis.

“We are proud to be home to Central Michigan University. The students are a great asset to our community and the energy and diversity they bring strengthens the City as a whole,” said Mt. Pleasant City Manager Nancy Ridley. “The students are also City residents, and all residents are expected to uphold our community standards, which include respecting your neighbors and taking care of each other to ensure Mt. Pleasant continues to be a safe and desirable place to live and visit.”

The Mt. Pleasant Police Department and Fire Department were assisted by the Central Michigan University Police Department, Central Michigan University Dispatch, Michigan State Police – Mt. Pleasant, and Lakeview Post, Isabella County Central Dispatch, Department of Corrections, Mobile Medical Response, Alma Police Department, Gratiot County Sheriff’s Department, Clare Police Department, Midland Police Department, and Midland County Sheriff’s Department.

Sytsema named Mt. Pleasant police lieutenant

dsytsemThe City recently announced the promotion of Detective Don Sytsema to police lieutenant. Sytsema has dedicated 22 years to the Mt. Pleasant Police Department, serving first as an officer and later as detective.

As lieutenant, Sytsema will oversee day-to-day operations of the road patrol and detective bureau, and will be responsible for duties related to crime analysis and prevention. He will also coordinate special operations with other area law enforcement agencies, among many other tasks.

“We are very confident and pleased with Don’s decision to be a part of the police administration team,” said Police Captain Andy Latham. “Don is a creative and analytical thinker who uses his head and his heart to make decisions. This lends to an inclusive leadership style that is well received and embraced by those around him.”

Sytsema is looking forward to the new challenge. “My vision is that our department will continue to use and explore new technology to support the solving of crime,” he said. Sytsema also envisions continued police engagement with our community and businesses, as he is committed to cultivating positive relationships.

Sytsema will fill the role of lieutenant beginning April 16.