By Bob Kenison
March 21, 2013
BENZIE COUNTY SHERIFF DEPARTMENT—Last week Sheriff Ted Schendel held his third public safety meeting since becoming sheriff of Benzie County in January. The meetings are open to the public, and are held the third Thursday of each month. People are encouraged to attend and find out what is happening in Benzie County law enforcement and to share their concerns and opinions. Sheriff Schendel has promised a transparent department that works for the public.
In contrast to the first meeting, in which spirited conversations were held pertaining to new gun laws and the sheriff’s public statements on Facebook and TV news that he would not uphold these new laws, few people showed up for this meeting.
In response to a suggestion at last month’s meeting, a drug drop box is being installed in the sheriff station’s lobby. This can be used to dispose of any drugs, prescription or illegal—no questions asked. Sheriff Schendel noted that sometimes parents find illegal drugs in the hands of their children. This is an easy way to dispose of these drugs and remain anonymous. Most of the county is on a septic system, and disposing of these drugs by flushing them down the toilet could result in contaminated drinking water.
There will be a county commissioners meeting on Tuesday, March 26 at 9 a.m. Sheriff Schendel will be asking the commission to add 5 new deputies to allow for 24/7 police protection for county residents. He has a number of concerned citizens coming to speak on behalf of the sheriff’s department in this regard. Having 24/7 protection is a concern of many area residents. There will also likely be discussion of the new property maintenance ordinance. This will sure to be a lively meeting!
Sheriff Schendel noted that since he took office, Benzie County has had two major drug arrests. One of these arrests was a repeat offender caught with over $5,000 worth of crack cocaine headed for Benzie County. The other was the arrest of Trevor Moody of Frankfort, found with heroin, methadone, and marijuana. An unregistered gun was also found in this arrest. Moody lives just 400 feet from the elementary school.
When campaigning for Sheriff, Schendel vowed to crack down on the drug problem in Benzie County. “These efforts will continue, and drug dealers are being put on notice to leave Benzie County, or spend time in my jail.”
In other news, a Coast Guard representative at the meeting said fishing is already taking place in Betsie Lake, and the Coast Guard boat is tuned up and ready to take to the water. He indicated the sequester will have no impact on the Coast Guard. Sheriff Schendel also indicated the sequester would have no impact on county law enforcement, but will impact the Sleeping Bear Dunes to some degree with shorter hours, and some possible rotating closings of areas of the park.
The next public safety meeting will be held on Thursday, April 18, at 6 p.m. in the sheriff’s office. Stop by and get involved!