The Huron Township Department of Public Safety released its annual report.
The report covers the 2022 operating year.
“2022 was a year of listening, learning, and changing for the Huron Township Department of Public Safety. Learning about ourselves, who we serve, and making sure we are the best at doing what we do. The main question on our mind is always whether or not we are providing top-notch quality service to our residents who do so much to support us. With that in mind, our organization began the journey of becoming accredited. Accreditation promotes transparency and self-reflection within an agency, which fosters a culture of accountability. We look forward to finalizing that process in 2023 and hope that we will make our community proud,” said Everette Robbins, director of public safety.
The Huron Township Police Department swore in two full-time officers during a board meeting on March 8.
Officer Joshua Wolfe began his career with the Belleville Police Department in 2012. In the following years he has worked for the Westland and Dearborn Heights Police Departments.
He has achieved training goals such as expert level shooter in firearms, a traffic reconstruction expert and investigator, speed measurement instructor. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Madonna University.
Officer Joe Barlow joins Huron Police with nine years of experience with the Dearborn Heights Police Department. While there, he was a member of the SWAT team and honor guard. He received his bachelor’s degree from Madonna University and his master’s degree from the University of Phoenix.
“We feel extremely fortunate to add officers with this type of experience and training to our public safety organization. It was great meeting their families who it was easy to see are the secret to their success. I expect great things from them,” said Everette Robbins, director of public safety.
A Huron Township resident was cited recently after a near miss situation occurred with a student at a bus stop.
Huron Township Police have been patrolling bus routes throughout the school year.
On Feb. 27, police dash cam footage caught a scary situation unfold at a bus stop on a Huron School District bus route.
A student, likely of elementary age, was near the edge of the street as the bus was stopped with red flashing lights at 8:11 a.m.
The footage shows the boy was alone and did not have any adults with him at the bus stop.
Just when the student was about to cross the street to board the bus, a driver ignored the stop lights and passed the bus.
The driver appears to swerve away from the bus and near the boy standing on the side of the road.
Here is the video:
The boy standing alone at the bus stop is concerning to police. This is a trend that police have noticed while patrolling the routes this year.
“More often than we should, we see kids standing near a busy street and ultimately crossing that busy street alone to get on the school bus. We are thankful that this young boy wasn’t seriously injured or worse. Hopefully this will the needed wake up call for all parents to be physically present with their children at the bus stop in the event they need to pull them to safety in a dangerous situation such as this one,” said Everette Robbins, Huron Township director of public safety.
“It’s still hard to believe that adults will disregard a school bus’ emergency lights, but unfortunately it’s a sad reality.”
Huron Township police responded to Summit Academy Middle School three times Monday for alleged threats made by students.
During the overnight hours Sunday into Monday, a student reported that a 12-year-old student from the city of Wayne said that he was going to shoot up the school. The threat occurred several days prior to being reported, and charges are being reviewed at the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
At 11 a.m., staff and students reported that another student threatened to blow the school up. A 14-year-old female student from Taylor was taken into custody and will be lodged at the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Center pending charges by the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Later the same day at 2:50 p.m., a staff member reported hearing a student say to another student that he would bring a gun to school and kill others during a verbal argument with another student.
A 12-year-old male from Romulus was taken into custody and will be lodged at the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Center pending review by the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
“Unfortunately, today middle school students reported verbal threats which resulted in arrest as well as disciplinary action at the school. As you know, school safety is always our first priority. We take threats very seriously and always launch a full investigation. We are very proud of the middle school students that reported verbal threats today. They did a great job of following ‘See/hear something, say something.’ We worked in partnership with our liaison officer and the Huron Police Department to address the students involved. The staff and Summit Academy North will continue to take every threat seriously. Your child’s safety is our priority,” said Leann Hedke, superintendent of Summit Academy.
“As we approach the end of the school year, please take some time to talk to your student about the seriousness of making any type of threat. Please remind your students about the repercussions of making a threat. There will be disciplinary action up to expulsion as well as referral to the police department and possible arrest,” she said.
A contractor working with the Wayne County Morgue was arrested Feb. 15 after he and an accomplice allegedly returned to the house of a dead Huron Township resident and burglarized the property.
Detroit residents Carnell Lamont Franklin-Smith, 34, and Benjamin Ulysses Pearce, 29, were arrested and charged with home invasion by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office during an arraignment on Feb. 17.
“It is believed that Franklin-Smith used his position of employment to victimize the families of the deceased. With intimate knowledge that a resident was deceased as well as knowing if other family members lived at a particular residence, I believe there are many other victims out there. He told investigators that he operated a business he called “No Evidence” that allowed him to return to scenes he previously worked for clean-up. I believe that was used as an opportunity to commit crimes like this one. We are asking anyone that may have had a family member’s residence broken into following their death to notify the police agency where they live,” said Everette Robbins, director of public safety.
On Feb. 15 at 9:32 a.m., the Huron Township Department of Public Safety received a 911 call in reference to a breaking and entering that was in progress in the 22000 block of Castelle Drive.
The 911 caller told emergency dispatch that there were two black men that were forcing their way into the house. The Huron Township Police Department patrol and traffic services units responded to the area. While in route to the scene the caller gave a description of the suspect vehicle and that the suspects fled from the house with items from inside.
At 9:39 a.m., the suspects were located by police. While Officers were getting Franklin-Smith out of the car, he stated he had a firearm on him. Officers searched him and located a loaded handgun in a black holster.
Several items inside the vehicle where in plain view and appeared to be stolen.
Several items recovered from the scene of the home invasion were found inside the suspect’s vehicle, police said.
The day before, police conducted a death investigation at the same house where the break-in occurred. The dead person at the house was determined to have died of natural causes. The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office was contacted to assist in the investigation for transportation of the remains to the Wayne County Morgue.
Police said Franklin-Smith entered the location and assisted in removing the body as part of his employment. The investigation revealed that Franklin-Smith worked for a company who is contracted by the Wayne County Morgue for removal of remains from houses to then be transported to the Wayne County Morgue.
Photographs taken by the Huron Township Detective Bureau of the death investigation scene on Feb. 14 confirmed that items found inside the suspect’s vehicle on Feb.15 matched items pictured in the victim’s residence the day prior.
“I am thankful for the in-depth work by our Detective Bureau during the death investigation which led to having crucial evidence proving multiple items were stolen from within the decedent’s residence. I am also thankful that our members of our Traffic Services Unit were able to quickly respond following the initial 911 call and quickly locate and arrest the suspects before they were able to flee,” Robbins said. “It’s so unfortunate that those trusted to respectfully transport a deceased person following their death would betray that trust. Our hearts go out to the family that has to deal with this in addition to losing their loved one,” Robbins said.
In addition to home invasion charges, Franklin-Smith was also booked on felony firearms charges in relation to the handgun found on him.
Both suspects were released after posting a $10,000 bond.
Two teens in Huron Township were arrested this week for alleged threats they made against the Huron School District and classmates.
Police say the threats were unrelated to each other.
At 7 p.m. on Monday, the Huron Township Department of Public Safety received information regarding a threat made to Renton Junior High School.
The threat was made on social media to another student.
Police say the social media post threatened to blow up that student’s house and come to school today and “shoot.”
The Huron Township Police Department school resource officer, along with the Detective Bureau, responded to investigate and worked throughout the night.
Huron School District Administration was notified and worked closely with investigators.
At 9:00 p.m. Monday, a 14-year-old Huron Township student was taken into custody regarding the threat.
The juvenile’s parents were cooperative with the investigation, and it was determined that the teen did not have access to weapons within his home.
The juvenile was transported to the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Center pending review for charges by the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
“Our top priority was to quickly identify and locate the suspect who made this threat. Our investigators worked into the early morning hours to make sure the students were able to safely attend school today. The investigation ultimately revealed that the student did not have immediate access to a weapon, at least within his home. However, we will always overact rather than underreact when it comes to the well-being and security of our kids,” said Everette Robbins, director of public safety.
At 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, Huron Township Public Safety received information regarding an in-progress threat situation at Renton Junior High School.
Police say a parent of a student reported to Huron School District Administration, who immediately reported to police, that another student posted on social media overnight that he was coming to school for a “man hunt.”
At the time the threat was reported, the student was on a Huron School District school bus heading towards the school.
The Huron Township Police responded immediately at the student was taken into custody with the assistance of Huron School District Administration as they arrived on the bus at the school.
Police arrested a 13-year-old Huron Township resident and Renton Junior High School student.
The investigation is currently ongoing, and the student will be transported to the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Center pending review for charges by the Wayne County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
“This was a situation where we had a student potentially with a weapon on one of our in-transit school busses. Fortunately, with the immediate assistance of school administration, we were able to quickly locate the student and take him into custody. Our hope was to take him into custody with as minimal of a disruption as possible for the other students. Although the investigation is ongoing, it appears that the student posted this because they thought it was funny. There is absolutely nothing funny about this and they will have some time to think about the humor of it sitting inside the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Center tonight. As always, I urge parents to once again have this talk with their students. It is not fair to the kids who want to get an education to have these continual disruptions. They deserve the feeling of safety and security when they arrive at school, and we will do whatever it takes to make that a reality for them,” Robbins said.
Superintendent Donovan Rowe released a statement on the threats Tuesday morning.
“This morning, a student posted on Snapchat stating that he had a gun. The Renton administrators contacted the police department, and the student was located and brought to the office. The student did not have a weapon and stated that the post was a joke; nevertheless, the Huron School District takes these situations very seriously, and the student was taken into custody. Due to the significant community impact that these types of incidents can have, we are asking for parents and educators to help us in communicating to our students the severe impact these “pranks” can have on students, parents, and staff. Please talk to your son or daughter, stressing the importance and potential impact that their language can have on the school community, whether that is in the form of a verbal statement, note, graffiti, or social media post. Please take time to reinforce that jokes about threats, inappropriate graffiti, and/or threatening language of any kind in a school setting is not funny and will be taken seriously by school officials and law enforcement. Student safety is our primary concern, and we will continue to work closely with the HTPD to keep our schools safe. It is unfortunate that, like many other school districts, we found ourselves dealing with inappropriate graffiti. Nevertheless, I want to thank you for your patience and trust in our process as we continue to work to keep our students safe. We have wonderful families in Huron, with great kids. If we all work together, we can help keep our kids safe. I appreciate your support in this area,” Rowe said.
Public safety staff in Huron Township are being commended for their response during the mid-week ice storm that wreaked havoc locally and throughout southeast Michigan.
Everette Robbins, director of public safety, said the Emergency Communications Center handled 98 fire department calls for service, and 172 calls to 911 during the first 20 hours of the ice storm.
The storm resulted in hundreds of thousands of DTE customers without power, hundreds of downed power lines, countless downed tree branches, and transformer explosions.
Robbins said in a letter of commendation that Dispatchers Amanda Eliason, Scot Ottusch, Michele McNulty, and Justine Castillo displayed excellence during their shifts.
“As I stood near the dispatch center and watched the teamwork that was being displayed, I will not soon forget the sense of pride that I had for being part of the Huron Township Public Safety Team. The care and compassion being transmitted over the dispatch channels were genuine and real as you worried about the safety of residents and first responders,” Robbins said in the letter.
According to the commendation letter, “Both Dispatcher Eliason and Ottusch worked four hours past their scheduled shifts and Dispatcher Castillo came in on her day off to assist the Communication Center. All four dispatchers worked as a team to make sure that all the residents within Huron and Sumpter Township received the assistance that they requested as well as assured that all our First Responders stayed safe.”
In an effort to be transparent with the public, the Huron Township Police Department released their annual use of force report.
“As a public safety organization, we understand the importance of transparency in policing. I also believe that sharing our efforts will ultimately build trust with our community stakeholders. These reviews not only allows us to make sure that all policies are strictly followed, but it also give us an avenue of self-reflection,” said Everette Robbins, Huron Township director of public safety.
Pursuant to Huron Township Public Safety Policy 300.9, three separate use of force board meetings were convened throughout 2022 to review use of force incidents involving police personnel.
The board met on the following dates and had the following participants at each: 10/26/2022 – Deputy Mark Neumann, Lt. Leo Girard, Lt. Jon Bettendorf, Sgt Ahmed Kassem, Sgt. Thomas Smith. 12/13/2022 – Lt. Leo Girard, Lt. Jon Bettendorf, Sgt Ahmed Kassem, Sgt. Thomas Smith.
The Board reviewed a total of 41 incidents pertaining to use of force in continual effort to answer or attain the below listed questions and goals.
Were any departmental directives or training violated?
Is departmental training adequate?
The relevant Policies are clearly understandable and effective to cover the Incidents?
Identify unique problem assignments, activities, or locations.
Is further investigation warranted?
The above listed use of force board members has reviewed the incidents outlined in this report and found that none of the incidents violated Departmental policies.
All involved staff received a memorandum notifying them of the Board’s findings and a copy of each memorandum was placed in the use of force file for each incident. The files are secured in a locked cabinet in the public safety director’s office by calendar year.
Police in Van Buren Township say an overturned rail car contained agricultural grain, and that the remaining overturned rail cars were empty.
A rail car containing hazardous material was not affected by the derailment, police said.
That rail car contained liquid chlorine, according to authorities. Its contents were not exposed during the incident.
“The involved train had one railcar that contained liquid chlorine; however it was located away from the overturned section, and was part of the section of railcars removed first. There is no evidence of exposed hazardous materials,” a statement from Van Buren police said.
At 8:30 a.m Thursday morning, Van Buren Police and Fire Departments responded to a train derailment including approximately 30 rail cars between Martinsville and Haggerty roads, south of Huron River Drive.
Federal Emergency Management Agency, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy, and Wayne County Homeland Security have all been notified of the incident, and will continue to coordinate with Van Buren Public Safety and local officials.
Haggerty Road is now open. Huron River Drive West of Haggerty remains closed, and is expected to be re-opened to traffic this evening.
The investigation is active and ongoing. Updates will be made to the public as they become available.