Major crimes are down 36 percent over the last three years in the City of Saline according to Police Chief Larry Hrinik’s annual report to City Council.
Hrinik reported that the number of major crimes were down from 268 in 2015 to 237 in 2016, a decrease of 11.5 percent. Hrinik then told council that major crimes are down each of the last three years for a three year drop of 36 percent.
Major crimes include murder, forced rape, sexual molestation, robbery, aggravated assault, motor vehicle theft, and crimes against the state.
“That’s unheard of. We are so excited that this happening,” Hrinik said. “I think it goes the officers being in the neighborhoods, to the officers being downtown and in the shopping plazas and just being very visible.”
Hrinik displayed stats showing that officers spent 20,173 hours on patrol.
“This officers are out there doing their jobs,” Hrinik said.
Hrinik said police foot patrols have been a great success. The emphasis on foot patrols began three years ago in downtown Saline. Two years ago the directive was expanded to include Saline’s shopping plazas. Last year, officers began foot patrolling Liberty School, Saline Middle School, and Pleasant Ridge, Harvest and Woodland Meadow elementary schools.
Another success story highlighted by Hrinik is the Big Red Barrel. Located in the lobby in front of the Saline Police Department, the barrel exists as a place for residents to dispose of unwanted and expired medication. Last year, more than 302 pounds of drugs were turned in at the Big Red Barrel for safe disposal.
“Almost a million pills have not gone into our water ways and our waste as a result of the Big Red Barrel,” Hrinik said. “We are (the Big Red Barrel) by far the biggest recipient of pills in Washtenaw County. Little Saline, we’re the biggest recipient. It’s good that our citizens are using our Big Red Barrel.”
The Saline Police Department continues its educational and public outreach with students in the city. Officer Dave Ringe and other Saline officers lead pre-kindergarten students on a week-long safety lesson each summer in a Saline Community Education program. Ringe is also the department’s TEAM teacher.
The TEAM (Teaching, Educating and Mentoring) program has replaced the DARE program. Instead of teaching students once in fifth grade, TEAM reaches every student from grades one through eight, every year.
“Everybody in the schools get to see our officer every year, as opposed to only in fifth grade,” Hrinik said.
The SPD is led by Chief Hrinik, with 42 years of law enforcement experience. Sergeants are James Basso, Andrew Hartwig and Stephen Maag. Fulltime Officers are Dave Ringe, Don Lupi, Mike Snook, Chris Boulter, Jennifer Dettling, Jeff Flynn, John Belknap, Ed Gauthier and Chris Hoffman. All but Hoffman have more than 15 years experience. Part-time officer Mike King is the detective. Dispatchers are Leah Farnsworth, Terry Seames, Christian Holler, Katrina Richey and part-timers Kevin Cornell and Katrina Boulter. Reserve officers are Jerry Salame, Chris Shonk and Jason Vibbart. Laurie Foondle is the secretary.
The report was dedicated to Sgt. Larry Wiedmeyer, who was a reserve officer in the Saline Police Department for 44 years. Wiedmeyer passed away as a result of his battle with cancer in November. Wiedmeyer’s wife and children attended the meeting Monday. Hrinik provided the family with a copy of the report.