MARQUETTE, Mich. — Wednesday marks the fifth annual celebration of National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.

Thank you to the men and women who work hard to keep our Upper Peninsula neighborhoods safe. I appreciate all that you do to serve and protect our communities.

There is no profession more undervalued and more dangerous than law enforcement. We need to celebrate the successes of local police departments, especially our efforts in Community Policing by Marquette Police Department and the Jail Diversion, and Youth Officer programs by Marquette County Sheriff Department.

All-the-while, we must continue to advocate for progressive reforms to address a national systemic communication gap between law enforcement and people of color. This country must address the growing mistrust and animosity perpetuated by bad officers and criminals alike, which stains an admirable, reputable profession and endangers innocent communities of color.

We have work to do locally building a better relationship between the police and our city’s most vulnerable – the homeless – but, it’s trending in a positive direction. 

I am more encouraged every day by the tireless and selfless acts of local officers. I appreciate their unsung commitments to duty. It’s more important now than ever we have good police officers interested in the field. I believe this is happening in the Upper Peninsula, and it’s something from which other departments in the Midwest can take example.

Marquette is home to a great community policing program that is dedicated to school safety, a jail diversion program that responsibly takes a different approach to incarcerating the mentally ill, and a new youth officer program celebrating a successful inaugural year.  Not to mention, our departments are often under resourced to combat a meth, fentalyl and opioid epidemic. Our officers are the unsung heroes and the vanguards in these battles.

These are some of the areas I hope we can collectively celebrate, and others where I see we can improve upon…

Community Policing

I am a proponent of #CommunityPolicing. Developing relationships with students in school builds trust and bridges the communication gap between law enforcement and citizens. Marquette Police Department has always done this well, as shown in this endearing photo of Youth Services Officer Dawson reading to students at Superior Hills.

Jail Diversion

Programs like Marquette’s jail diversion program resolve situations to better serve people with mental illnesses who…

Posted by Andrew Lorinser on Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A healthy baby girl was recently left in a baby box. #Michigan is a Safe Haven state. You can leave your baby, up to three days old, with a staff member at any hospital, fire station, police station or EMS personnel on duty. It’s an unfortunate need, but because of Safe Haven laws no one ever has to abandon a child ever again.

Posted by Andrew Lorinser on Monday, April 9, 2018

Emergency Response To Black Rocks

The man who fell at Black Rocks anonymously claims he knew the risks, but was confident in his ability to swim to safety. He was assisted out of the water by his girlfriend. Others are calling him reckless, and an eyewitness to his fall is now warning of the dangers he was in. Another couple swept off the rocks is still missing.

Posted by Andrew Lorinser on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What other precautions should the City take to prevent this in the future? If pedestrians are banned from certain areas on Presque Isle during storms like this, how do we enforce it?

A former mayor told me we can’t allow police to routinely patrol places like Picnic Rocks or Black Rocks because they put the City in jeopardy of victim lawsuits. In other words, these areas are so dangerous, that we consciously choose to not let officers carry out preventive measures, because we fear we’ll get sued if we fail. That negligence is deadly, and if you ask me, doing nothing makes us liable.

We put up signs and ropes, and the police department shares a Facebook post, and we just hope tourists, visitors, and new students know better. Clearly, they don’t. Those who do, and break the law, we don’t stop them until after they’re swept in the Lake. Why not physically stop them, before they’re on the Rocks?

It’s never a surfer. Locals know better. Is that a reason we maybe care less when the drownings do happen?

We spend significantly more money on search and rescue efforts than we would if we proactively insured the City protection against lawsuits, and did everything we could to prevent drownings. Mandatory classes for NMU students, weather conditional patrols at high risk areas. Who hasn’t hopped a “Do Not Enter” sign? We know the will to do it during storms is high, so why not patrol that harder?

When the Mackinac Bridge is too dangerous to cross, do we just put up a sign?

We are not doing enough. I am not referring to first responders. We ask too much from them after preventable things happen. Thank God for first responders; EMTs, Coast Guard, linemen and women, fire and police department. You all saved lives. Legislatively, I know we can do more.

I don’t think we can legislate against “stupid”, a lot of you have been saying that. “Thin out the gene pool!” That’s not who we are. We are better than that. Letalone, yes, sometimes you can legislate education. We can prevent people from being unknowingly stupid in stupid places at stupid times. Ie: Being on the edge of Black Rocks during 60 mph winds and 22 foot waves. If the City wanted, we could literally prevent that.

We can predict surfers and photographers want to get close, and we should designate where and when that’s OK. If that’s your pursuit of happiness, you’re entitled to it. But we know exactly the things people do that threaten the lives of others, first responders in particular, and we should stop it. We know the unsafe areas. So, patrol it, enforce it, before entry. We only threatened arrests that tragic day after three people were swept off, one who says he knew the risks, and two others who drowned. It was too late.

Enable our police departments to be ready, especially on days like this, and have officers out there, out of danger’s way themselves, but ticketing or apprehending those who ignore the warnings. This storm was forecasted. We closed the island to vehicles. There is one entrance. Any pedestrian could’ve been turned away, if entry was patrolled earlier.

It’s tragic enough that visitors, tourists, and new students drown. When we allow it to happen, and then risk first responders lives because we were afraid to prevent it, it has the potential to get exponentially more tragic.

During storms, no one should be allowed passed the second entry. No one should be on the breakwall, and no one on Black Rocks. Photographers maybe can have a desgnated area, surfers can use that beach. But, a storm like yesterday’s, it should be closed and its access guarded.

I propose we deputize three city Parks and Rec employees to guard the entry and ticket people during storms. If they have insubordinate trespassers, they radio to PD.

Even if it costs the City the addition of a handful of on-call employees, any preventive solution is significantly less costly than a three day search and rescue.

Something needs to change. It’s long overdue we bring police, Coast Guard, surfers, city commission, and legal experts to the same table and see what can and should be done. The discussion has been cowardly avoided for years, out of fear of liability, without solution, and too many people have died.

Take a Knee Protests

It is my firm belief we can be appreciative for the efforts of individuals and local departments and still offer critical analysis of national systemic problems pertaining to justice and inequality. Nationally, to better bridge the gap between law enforcement and communities of color, I am a proponent of progressive policing reforms including…
  • Fair sentencing
  • Combat mass incarceration
  • Study, adjust or end mandatory minimums
  • End imprisonment of marijuana offenders
  • Expunge records of marijuana offenders
  • End the so-called ‘War on Drugs’
  • #BanTheBox
  • End ‘Stop and Frisk’
  • End ‘Broken Window Policing’
  • End ‘Predictive Policing’
  • Re-evaluate ‘Legacy Training’
  • Deploy #CommunityPolicing
  • Better aid re-entry, combat recidivism
  • End ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws
  • Re-train officers in de-escalation
  • Prosecute police brutality

Your objection to #TakeAKnee does not defend the flag. It does not defend great men and women officers who work to…

Posted by Andrew Robert Lorinser on Thursday, August 9, 2018