For the first time in years, the Alpena County Sheriff’s Department is once again patrolling the roads 24 hours a day.
It’s taken some time, partly due to the pandemic, but the department now has the necessary staff to get it done.
While Michigan State Police have continued to patrol 24 hours, Sheriff Erik Smith hopes the increased law enforcement presence will make people feel safer. It will also increase the number of officers that can respond in case of an emergency. “To me, growing up in Alpena and being a citizen here and having my family here, that means a lot,” Smith said. “At 2 or 3 in the morning, when someone picks up the phone and dials 9–1–1, there’s a police officer who’s going to be responding.”
The department will also be patrolling the streets in new vehicles as well. County commissioners approved the purchase and come with new technology. New overhead lights automatically get dimmer at night to not cause too much distraction for other drivers and, when turned on, it also automatically activates the recently acquired body cams. “We haven’t fully started using them yet,” said Smith. “We have training mid–June to roll that project out and get that finalized. We’ve only received three of our cars so far so it’s been quite an effort to get the cars and the cameras going all at once. It’s been a lot of work.”
Other upgrades for the department include resurfacing a space in the jail parking lot and a roof over the entrance to help with snowfall.