During December, the Lowell Police Department investigated thefts from local stores, handled a case of harassment between friends and started handing out home security systems to victims of domestic assault cases.
The department also started using a new computer system to track reports. Rather than grouping cases into large categories, the system has dozens of classifications for everything from junk in the yard to incorrigible juveniles. As a result, the snapshot of department activity for December 2021 looks a little different.
In total, the department logged 314 reports for the month, and here are some notable numbers:
- 103 traffic stops that resulted in 6 citations
- 29 assists to other agencies
- 27 general and motorist assists
- 20 suspicious situations
- 6 traffic accidents
- 4 obstructing justice
- 4 larcenies
- 3 retail fraud
- 3 juvenile runaways
- 2 burglaries
- 1 disorderly conduct
- 1 roadkill permit issued
Intimidation Complaint Resolved Without Charges
As usual, Lowell police officers were needed to address a variety of concerns in December. Whenever possible, the department tries to mediate a resolution between parties when appropriate.
For instance, officers addressed one complaint of intimidation/stalking in December. A situation between two friends had turned south and some threatening phone calls and social media posts were apparently made. An officer made contact with the person making the statements and laid out the potential charges – including a felony – that could occur if the behavior didn’t stop. That apparently resolved the situation.
Local Businesses Hit by Theft and Credit Card Fraud
The department became aware of two cases of ongoing theft from local businesses.
In one case, a group of four individuals were apparently stealing items from Tractor Supply Co. and then returning them for gift cards. Those gift cards would then be used to buy larger products which were then presumably sold to others for cash.
Store employees became suspicious and notified the police who have identified the four suspects. One person lives in Lowell while two others live nearby. The fourth person involved has apparently left the state. One person has confessed to the crimes and the case will be turned over to the prosecutor for charges.
In another case, someone has been using stolen credit card numbers to purchase lumber at Self Serv Lumber. The person or persons apparently pick up the lumber in Lowell and drive it to the east side of the state. The investigation into this matter has only just begun and no further details are available right now.
Reflecting on 2021
In reflecting on 2021, Police Chief Chris Hurst notes the year posed some challenges, particularly when it came to staffing. Several officers needed to take time off after being diagnosed with COVID-19 while other staff needed leaves to attend to family matters or recoup from nonwork-related surgery. One officer was deployed with the National Guard to Washington DC from February through March.
The department also had trouble acquiring ammunition for officer trainer, at one point being told an order would take 12 months to fill as a result of a shortage. One police vehicle required thousands of dollars in repairs, but over the summer, Lowell City Council OK’d the purchase of a new cruiser – the department’s first hybrid vehicle.
Throughout the year, the department oversaw community-wide events including the Lowell Pride day, Expo on the Riverwalk, Riverwalk Festival and Santa Parade. All were a success with no significant problems reported.
The Lowell Police Department also received a generous donation from Amazon that included multiple Ring security cameras. Officers have begun offering those to victims of domestic assault or similar crimes to help ensure their safety.
Heading into the new year, Hurst is preparing to take the department through an accreditation process available through the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. He is grateful for the hard work of his officers and that charges against former Lowell Officer Jason Diaz were dismissed in December. Looking forward, Hurst says the Lowell Police Department is fully staffed and ready to serve.