Keeping Lowell Safe: Police Beat for April 2022

Lowell Police Department Hybrid vehicle

This week is National Police Week which makes it a good time to consider the latest news from the Lowell Police Department. The city’s current police force is made up of about a dozen men and women in uniform plus administrative staff and school crossing guards. The department is currently hiring and keep reading for more information about that further down in this article.

If you aren’t familiar with the history of our police force, the Lowell Police Department was formed in 1949. At that time, it was led by an elected constable. The department was reorganized in 1960, and today, the police chief is a hire position.

Over the years, two law enforcement members who served the community have died in the line of duty. In 1932, Kent County Deputy Charlie Knapp was shot and killed while trying to apprehend fleeing bank robbers on E. Main Street. In 2011, Officer Trevor Slot was also killed by fleeing bank robbers when they hit him with a vehicle. Slot was serving with the Walker Police Department at the time but had previously been employed as a part-time officer in Lowell starting in 1997.

In April 2022, the Lowell Police Department logged 245 reports for the month and those included the following:

  • 39 assists to other agencies
  • 21 suspicious situations
  • 20 general and motorist assists
  • 11 traffic accidents
  • 5 ordinance violations
  • 3 larcenies
  • 2 civil disputes
  • 2 malicious destruction of property
  • 1 disorderly conduct

Lowell officers also made 102 traffic stops that resulted in 10 citations.

April Case Report

There was no major crime in April, according to Police Chief Chris Hurst. However, the police did address a number of smaller incidents.

For instance, they were called to a home in which a person was evicting his roommate. The two were arguing in a driveway when a woman tried to intervene and separate the two. In the process, a vehicle door was closed on her arm, resulting in a bruise. The woman wanted to press charges, and the Lowell Police Department completed a report and forwarded it to the Kent County Prosecutor’s Office. However, the prosecutor denied the request for charges.

In another case, a woman contacted the department about an acquaintance sending threatening and intimidating messages through Facebook. Hurst says that in these cases, the police recommend people send a message clearly telling the other person to stop contacting them or they will notify the police. This helps establish a record of a date and time that can be used as evidence if the person continues to send messages. However, in many cases – such as this one – the request tends to end the unwanted contact.

Lowell Police Department Looking for New Officers

The Lowell Police Department is undergoing some changes to its personnel. Officer Scot VanSolkema has submitted his resignation and will leave the force at the end of May. Officer Prentice Carter is moving out of the state and is also resigning from his position. Finally, Officer Jessica Mills will be on a one-year military leave of absence.

All that means the Lowell Police Department is currently looking for a few good men and women to add to their force. In total, the department needs one full-time and three part-time officers. Ideally, Hurst would like to fill positions with experienced officers. For instance, he hopes maybe a retired officer who is looking to work a few shifts a week might be interested in a part-time position.

If you or someone you know has police training and is interested, contact the Lowell Police Department at 616-897-7123.

Lowell Police Chief Chris Hurst (r) meets with Capt. Don Crawford of Lowell, Massachusetts (l).

In other news, Chief Hurst was out east for his daughter’s college graduation and was able to stop by Lowell, Massachusetts for a visit. There, he met with Captain Don Crawford and the two compared notes about their forces and swapped police patches.

Needless to say, the Lowell Police Department in Massachusetts dwarfs the one in Lowell. With more than 230 officers, it has almost as many lieutenants as Lowell, Michigan has on its entire force. Plus, it has multiple divisions not found here, including a K-9 unit that has dogs for patrol, narcotics detection and tracking.

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