Ready for 2015 construction?

Michigan DOT announces:

Mi Drive app downloaded 40,000 timesroad-work 

Fast facts:
– The Mi Drive app debuted in November 2014 and has been downloaded more than 40,000 times.
– The free app is available on iOS and Android devices.
– Mi Drive provides up-to-date construction info, traffic incidents, traffic cams, and other information helpful to motorists.

April 16, 2015 — Michigan motorists have a new tool to help them navigate around construction zones this year – the Mi Drive traffic information app. The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) says there have been more than 40,000 downloads of the free app since it was introduced in November 2014.

            “The summer driving season is always hectic but it’s no secret there’s work to be done on our aging infrastructure,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “Part of MDOT’s job is not only to do the best job we can maintaining Michigan’s transportation infrastructure with the resources available, but also to keep motorists safe, informed, and mobile. Mi Drive does a great job of helping MDOT serve the public.”

            According to the Pew Research Center’s April 1 report “U.S. Smartphone Use in 2015″, nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and 40 percent of smartphone owners look up government services or information. Connect Michigan has found 1.4 million Michiganders access the Internet daily on their smartphones.

            Mi Drive uses Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) technology, speed sensors, cameras and cell phone data to provide motorists with real-time information about factors that can affect travel. The site currently displays real-time traffic camera views, real-time color-coded speeds on major routes, message boards, work zones, rest areas and Welcome Centers across Michigan, MDOT carpool lots, and National Weather Service forecasts by city name or zip code.

            To download the free app, go to iTunes or Google Play and search for MDOT or MiDrive. The address for both the desktop and mobile versions of the website is: www.michigan.gov/drive.

The Mi Drive website and app are maintained by MDOT; the Department of Technology, Management and Budget; the state’s Center for Shared Solutions & Technology Partnerships; and the ITS program office within the MDOT Operations Field Services Division. First launched in 2007, the site has been revamped several times. A mobile version was introduced in 2011 and the app was rolled out on Nov. 12, 2014. Since the initial release, the Mi Drive team has encouraged public feedback, as well as monitored user comments in the iTunes app store and Google Play.

Our Child Safety Seat Program is in Action!

We put those donations for child seats to work right away!  Officer Miller, Officer Rice, Officer Mahon, Firefighter Herr and Firefighter Webb completed an informational session and seat inspection at the Head Start program at Baker College today.

We did six seat inspections, and gave out three child seats and two boosters to parents in need.

Our friends at Target have agreed to help us out and stretch our funding to round up our dollars to the next seat so we think we’ll be getting 5 more.

Thank you to all who helped.  Here are some photos from the event today.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

No Bad Cops

Chief Doreen Olko:

I posted this blog back in December. I was horrified to read about the shooting in Oklahoma by the reserve deputy who thought he pulled a Taser and pulled his pistol instead killing a subject. There are dangers in having untrained, minimally supervised people who have not been carefully selected through psychological testing and background investigation perform as police officers.  They are given guns and authority to take a life without even minimal standards.   We have the same system in Michigan as highlighted by the situation in Oakley Michigan.  Some reserve programs do what they should–Sheriff Bouchard here in Oakland County sends all reserves through a reserve academy and conducts regular training.  Not all communities do that.  And in the face of budget shortfalls, more have been replacing sworn officers with unsworn, unregulated reserves, I fear.
Senator Tonya Schuitemaker has introduced 2 bills addressing this situation as well as giving MCOLES power to more closely regulate the actions of police officers.  She sponsored them last session and has brought them back for a second try.  I hope we have success this time.  Perhaps we can prevent this kind of tragedy.

Originally posted on Auburn Hills Police Department:

You might recall that I was appointed by Governor Snyder to the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards a few years ago.  Governor Snyder has a policy that appointees can only serve a total of 8 years and since I was on the Commission prior to his election, I’m at the 8 year mark so I expect to leave the Commission soon.  One of the projects I worked on was a legislative package that would have modernized the Commission and improved its ability to de license police officers for certain kinds of crimes.  Right now we are one of 16 states with minimal ability to de license police officers – they must be convicted by a court of a felony crime.  We have found that there are some crimes for which we believe that an officer should lose his/her license but are not felonies.  There is one form of criminal…

View original 2,625 more words

Car Seat Status

A month ago I made a request on this blog for car seats.  Officer Brian Miller, our car seat technician, let me know that we had given away our last seat and we had to find a source for some new ones.  cropped-child-seat.jpg

Our officers give away seats when they stop a person whose child is not in a proper seat –we can write tickets for that but what good is that if the person can’t afford a new seat? They have to choose between paying the ticket so their license won’t be suspended for non payment and buying a proper seat.  Who wins there? We also give away seats as needed at our child safety seat events (more information on a planned event will be out soon).

We had a couple of donations from individuals:  Council member Veronica Mitchell gave us one and Morning Optimist Club members Bill and Gayle Barr gave us one.  United Health Care also gave us 3 seats and volunteered to help us at an inspection event.

Internally, city employees paid $5 on Fridays for the month of March toward our car seat projects and some departments like DPW and Community Center bought us some seats –thanks!

For the month of March the police department really came through–internally we raised $390 through a combination of $5 for Friday jeans days and donations–most of our personnel are police officers and can’t wear jeans on Fridays–they must wear uniforms but they gave anyway.  We have 70 personnel total–so I think we did pretty well. I even heard a rumor that a unit commander gave an exception from police hat wearing at an event for a $5 contribution.

We can buy quite a few seats for $390.

So thank you to every one who helped us achieve this important goal!

College Kids Are Unknowingly Rolling on Bath Salts

Given that we have more than one higher education institution here in town, I worry about what young people may be taking for a good time.  This article highlights that drug dealers who are selling this stuff aren’t sure and/or don’t care what their substances actually are.  There isn’t any quality control in the drug dealer world–they can say it’s one thing and it could be another.  It is definitely a buyer beware situation. Here is an article on a recent outbreak in Connecticut.

College Kids Are Unknowingly Rolling on Bath Salts.

We Had a Busy Weekend

Easter weekend should have been quiet–people out enjoying egg hunts and nice dinners with families.  We don’t always get what we wish for though.

Thursday afternoon Bass Pro at the mall got a phone call that there was a bomb in the store.  The store chose to evacuate and wanted a dog search of the building just to make sure everyone was safe.  We don’t have explosive search dogs so locating and waiting for dogs took awhile.  In the meantime, our detectives determined that there was a likely suspect and are still working the case.  It appears to be an angry person who wanted to cause disruption by calling in the threat – it is very doubtful there was a bomb of any kind.

Sunday, we had a person who threatened to hurt himself or any police officer he saw near his home.  Officers did a good job at evacuating the area and keeping him contained while one of our detectives talked with him by phone. He did have a gun at the time but he had committed no crime so the two command officers, Lt. Jill McDonnell on scene and Lt. Cas Miarka at the station did a good job at keeping everyone safe and calm while waiting the subject out.  Eventually he came out, without the gun, and turned himself in.  He wanted to go to a treatment facility and we obliged him.  He’s still there.

No injuries to him or to the officers or anyone else.  I know it was disruptive to the neighborhood since we kept some people out of their homes.  As these things go, it went pretty fast –about 3 hours.  But we don’t want to take a person from their home by force if we can avoid it and in cases like these they need help but don’t use a normal route to get it.

Hope you had a quieter, happier Easter.

Officer Skomski Helps a Kid Get a Bike

I want you to meet Officer Mariusz Skomski.  He has been an 20150401_160159officer with us for nearly 7 years and before that he worked for Flint PD for a brief time.

In early March he was dispatched to a call at one of our local motels at 2am.  It was a 911 hang up meaning that we got a call on one of our 911 lines and all we heard was “Get off me!” and then the line disconnected.  Since it was a land line we could tell it came from this motel so officers were sent to investigate further.  They found a family of 5 living in a motel room: mom, grandma, uncle, 16 year old girl and a 12 year old boy.  The boy had been trying to call a friend to make some plans for the weekend but somehow the call went to 911 by mistake.  They had been living at the motel for about 3 months,   The boy’s bed is a pillow on the floor.  They moved down here from up north so mom could find work.

A week later Skomski was dispatched to this same room over a family disturbance.  There was a dispute over a computer game and the boy was expressing some frustration.  In talking to the boy Officer Skomski realized that a boy cooped up in a motel room with nothing to do was likely to be frustrated and angry. He had nothing to occupy his time–nothing to play with.  Officer Skomski is a good dad and he knows how important it is for kids to be able to get outside and play.  The mother confirmed that the boy had no toys because she couldn’t afford any.  Officer Skomski decided to do something about that.  He went to Karen Adcock of our Senior Services Department who gave him a soccer ball but he really wanted to get the boy a bicycle.

Afternoon shift put their heads together and reached out to people they know in our community.  Target gave them a $25 gift card to be used toward the purchase of a bike.  While he was picking up the gift card, a Target employee Lori Kaysish, who had heard the story stopped him and gave him a $100 gift card from she and her husband.  So Officer Skomski bought a bike for about $70 and got the balance as a gift card for the sister.  Officer Rice

Here he is with the new bike and bike helmet.

Here he is with the new bike and bike helmet.

contacted Rainforest Cafe Manager Scott and Assistant Manager Brittany who offered the family a dinner on the house–pretty fun stuff for kids whose life hasn’t been much fun lately.

Officer Skomski told me that he feels strongly about the welfare of kids and he wanted to do something for this boy.  We know that Officer Skomski has a young son who is seriously ill.  It is clear to me that helping another boy gives him great personal satisfaction.

Too often all the officers get to see is family disorder and how people harm each other.   The world can be a harsh place for kids.  Although they can’t fix everything, they can do some things to make a kid’s life a little better.   And who knows where it could lead?  We all hope it is the first step in something good for this family.

The family has told Officer Skomski that they are moving out of Auburn Hills soon to what they hope will be a better housing situation.  Thank you to every person who contributed to the bike and the gift card for the sister.  And to Rainforest Cafe for the dinner.  Auburn Hills is a great community because of its business environment and entertainment venues but its true greatness is because there are so many people with great hearts.

Driving without insurance? Police in Michigan can now tell just by running your plate | MLive.com

Like the state police in this article, we have seen more and more imagesinstances of drivers without insurance.  And prior to this law we couldn’t check.  We long suspected that some people were getting a binder or  proof of insurance and then cancelling.  It is a problem for everyone to have uninsured motorists on the road.  So we see this as a good change -many other states already have this in place.

Driving without insurance? Police in Michigan can now tell just by running your plate | MLive.com.