2006-04-15 / Top News

County Funds Extra Island Police Officer

By Ryan Schlehuber

Mackinac County will give $15,241.92 to the City of Mackinac Island to hire a police officer for six months, because, one commissioner contends, there is no sheriff patrol on the Island.

Mackinac Island councilman Armand Horn approached the county commission at its regular meeting Thursday, March 23, asking for funding to hire an additional police officer to help with patrol on the Island, especially needed during the busy summer months. Mr. Horn said the city funded a Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement (SANE) officer to help patrol the Island last year. The new officer, he said, would be like a SANE officer but would work under the supervision of Island Police Chief William Lenaghan.

Chief Lenaghan told The Town Crier that the new officer will wear a city police uniform but will also address any county needs or issues that arise.

Commissioner Joe Durm pointed out that the Mackinac County Sheriff's Department patrols county roads throughout the county but not on Mackinac Island, where there are no county roads. Deputies also do not patrol in St. Ignace, the county's only other city. The sheriff's marine division, however, does patrol Mackinac Island's harbor and inspects boats there, as it does in other county harbors, and the county jail houses Mackinac Island's offenders.

The gift to Mackinac Island was made without consultation with Sheriff Scott Strait, who has been unable to convince commissioners to fully staff the jail.

This summer, Chief Lenaghan and his assistant, Lieutenant Pete Komblevitz, will have a staff of four full-time officers, four summer officers, five people to control traffic, and the new officer provided by the county. Two Michigan State Police troopers are also assigned to Mackinac Island during the summers.

Most of the department staff should be in place by May, said Chief Lenaghan, who is sifting through 171 applications for the four available summer positions.

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