Keeping Lowell Safe: Police Beat for April-June 2020

From March 23 to June 1, Michigan residents were under a stay-at-home order issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the Lowell Police Department continued to provide 24/7 service to the city, the shutdown meant fewer cars on the streets and fewer calls to the office.

“It was real quiet on the radio,” recalls Detective Gordy Lauren.

Meanwhile, the department was following guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and taking extra measures to sanitize vehicles and avoid unneeded contact with the public. “We’re not supposed to go into someone’s house unless it’s an emergency,” says Chief Chris Hurst.

The department only had two traffic stops in April and no arrests in that month. While some areas saw an increase in domestic disputes during the shutdown months, Hurst says that wasn’t the case in Lowell. “Believe or not, we didn’t have a lot of domestics,” he explains.

However, there were plenty of other calls to keep officers busy during their shifts. The monthly case highlights are as follows:

April – 116 cases total

  • 17 calls for assistance to other agencies
  • 11 calls for assistance to citizens
  • 6 disorderly conduct
  • 6 car accidents
  • 5 larcenies
  • 4 ordinance violations
  • 1 domestic assault
  • 1 breaking and entering

May – 124 cases total

  • 24 calls for assistance to other agencies
  • 14 calls for assistance to citizens
  • 7 total arrests
  • 4 larcenies
  • 4 car accidents
  • 4 domestic assaults
  • 2 ordinance violations
  • 2 drunk drivers
  • 1 disorderly conduct
  • 1 breaking and entering

Plus, the department made 38 traffic stops and issued 30 citations in May, with most of those going to people who disregarded “road closed” signs during the May flood.

June – 139 cases total

  • 32 calls for assistance to other agencies
  • 27 calls for assistance to citizens
  • 6 ordinance violations
  • 5 larcenies
  • 5 domestic assaults
  • 3 fireworks complaints
  • 2 drunk drivers
  • 2 drug law violations
  • 2 car accidents
  • 1 breaking and entering

In June, the department made 35 traffic stops and issued 4 citations.

The Lowell Police Department also provided the following case updates and reminders for the public.

Fireworks Limited to Private Property on July 3-5

With it being the 4th of July weekend, Hurst reminds residents that state law limits the use of fireworks to three days and during designated hours. They may be set off on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (July 3-5) between the hours of 11am and 11:45pm.

What’s more, fireworks can only be discharged on private property with permission of the owner. That means residents of apartments need permission from their landlord, and public parking lots, sidewalks and parks are off-limits for fireworks.

It’s also illegal to use fireworks if you are intoxicated or under the age of 18. It can be a criminal matter if a firework causes a fire or otherwise damages property. So stay away from trees and structures and be sure to have a hose or other source of water ready if needed.

Detective Work Leads to Two Felony Warrant

Last year, an Illinois women passed counterfeit bills in at least five Michigan cities, including Lowell. “Normally, something like this would be filed away in a small department,” Hurst says.

However, the Lowell Police Department is fortunate to have a detective on staff, and Detective Lauren was able to investigate and pull together evidence that helped lead to a warrant being issued for two felonies.

“It was good detective work,” Hurst notes.

Unarmed Robbery at Sprint Store

The Sprint Store was robbed in a theft that appears to be linked to a string of robberies at other cell phone stores. Officers believe it may also be connected to a rash of automobile thefts at local dealerships.

“We suspect they are taking the cars from dealerships and using them to commit other crimes,” Hurst says. The Kent County Sherriff’s Department and Michigan State Police are taking the lead on the case and apparently have identified suspects.

Hogweed Possibly Found on N. Division

A property owner on N. Division alerted the police to the possible presence of hogweed on their lot. The invasive species has a sap that can cause burns and even blindness if it gets in a person’s eyes.

The police have taped off the area, and horticulture experts from Michigan State University have been contacted to safely remove the plants.

Slow Down on Bowes Road and Don’t Drive a Moped without a License

Police note that they have received a number of speeding complaints on Bowes Road between Valley Vista and Hudson Streets. They are stepping up patrols in the area and encourage everyone to slow down. While that stretch of road is flat and wide, the speed limit is only 25 mph.

The police have also pulled over several unlicensed moped drivers lately. A person must have a valid license to drive a moped on the roadway. And while teens as young as 15 can drive a moped, they must have a moped license. Those who are 19 and younger must also be wearing a DOT-approved helmet. A bicycle helmet simply won’t do.

Thank You from the LPD

The community, state and nation have experienced tremendous upheaval in recent months, and Hurst is thankful for the continued support of area residents. People have been quick to drop off treats, and Hurst says fresh fruits and veggies are always welcome and appreciated. However, more importantly, he is grateful for everyone’s kindness to officers as they work to fulfill their duty to protect and serve.


Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to reflect the reason for traffic tickets being issued in May.

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