St. Clair County Sheriff talks about body cameras, improved training, more – The Voice


St. Clair County Sheriff Mat King attended the Algonac City Council meeting on November 2 to provide an overview of the sheriff’s office and accomplishments in the last year of his first term .

First, King spoke a little about himself, stating that he has lived in St. Clair County his entire life except for two years when he moved to Detroit to be a Detroit Police Officer. , and that he worked for the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office for 23 years.

Prior to becoming sheriff, King served as a highway patrol captain for three and a half years, and in 2020 he was elected sheriff of St. Clair County.

King then gave an overview of some of the different divisions of the Sheriff’s Office, starting with Highway Patrol.

In 2020, the sheriff’s office received around 40,000 calls for service, which was down a bit. King said COVID-19 has changed the way highway patrols are carried out, as they attempt to prioritize responses.

“We knew that no matter what, we had to maintain county-wide services inside and outside our prison, and in order to do that we had to have a team of MPs who weren’t. obviously not sick, ”he said, noting that the more contact MPs have with the public, the more likely they are to catch the virus. “We weren’t sure how well the virus was able to survive, especially early on, so we asked MPs to take a few phone calls and obviously not as many traffic stops.”

He said the highway patrol division has many specialist groups, including a team of accident investigators, a K-9 drug and tracking team, commercial vehicle policing, cybercrime and a team special intervention.

The Drugs Task Force executed 34 search warrants and 183 drug-related trafficking checks in 2020, which King said was low compared to normal. He said DTF officers were asked to focus on their big business.

“But if you see in the statistics, you will still see that over 2,600 grams of methamphetamine have been taken off the streets, so they really targeted the most important cases to have the greatest impact with as little interaction with it. the public, ”King said.

He mentioned that the numbers were higher in 2021 because DTF officers “started racing this year”.

Then King spoke about the dive team, which is an organization of 29 members, all volunteers. He said the team was helping other communities across the county and outside the county and also fundraising for highly technical equipment. They had 35 calls in 2020, including four drowning recovery operations.

King said the maritime division had 3,100 hours of patrol in 2020 and that in 2021 the sheriff’s office received a grant to target areas without awakening due to high water.

“Obviously they also have all kinds of different events, the Mackinac race, the Float Down, Jobbie Nooner, the Pickerel Festival and many more,” he said. “We are proud of the work they do.

Finally, King spoke about the correctional facility.

“It’s a group of men and women who work very hard every day and are not very glamorous,” he said. “They do very hard work; very difficult work.

In 2020, the prison reserved 3,260 inmates, down from the average of 5,285 years before COVID-19.

King said that during COVID-19, some laws were enacted and cooperation with other law enforcement agencies to reduce the population of the correctional facility so that it can be more easily managed.

He said those who are arrested and booked into the facility are quarantined with others arrested that day until their COVID-19 tests return, then they are placed in the good part of the l ‘establishment, which blocks parts of the prison that can generally be used to move people.

“Every space is used and if we make a few people sick, they have to come to an area on their own so as not to make everyone sick,” he said. “So the prison and the penitentiary deputies and sergeants and lieutenants really have to be very, very creative in how we handle this. There has never been a rulebook on how to deal with a pandemic in a penal institution and we still face it today. “

King also mentioned the programs aimed at reducing recidivism that are offered in the correctional facility, including an Intervention Academy which allows people to graduate from high school or their high school diploma, the program residential drug treatment and medically assisted treatment.

Achievements since 2020

King also mentioned some of the accomplishments of the sheriff’s office since November 2020, when he first took office.

The sheriff’s office was able to provide COVID-19 vaccination clinics in the prison, resulting in 135 inmates being vaccinated in the first round and 75 more in the second round. The vaccine is now offered at the entrance to the prison.

The sheriff’s office has also purchased body cameras and on-board cameras, and on-board computers have been updated to allow body cameras and car cameras to synchronize recorded video.

King said body-worn cameras have been reviewed in the past, but the sheriff’s office has waited to see how the programs play out and to find funds for the cameras and for the storage of the videos.

“Great for evidence gathering, great for training – someone is doing something we think should be looked at, we can review it and learn from it – and it’s great to hold our MPs accountable and to hold our public accountable, ”he said.

King also mentioned court video booths, which are booths used for remote court appearances in the correctional facility to limit the potential exposure of people to COVID-19. He said the technology could also be used in the future and that other counties have come to view the facility as a model. The cameras in the facilities have also been improved.

Additionally, the Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Police One / Lexipol for enhanced training.

“In law enforcement, if there is a problem, if there is a lawsuit, if there is a fault or someone says there is a fault, it often comes down to your policies and your training and how often MPs outline policies, ”King said. “It’s really hard to have enough training.

A new program is the Employee Wellness Program, which will provide employees with mental and physical health assistance, financial counseling and spiritual support. The deputies also obtained external protective vests to increase their comfort.

Finally, King mentioned that the sheriff’s office has added a school liaison assistant for Memphis community schools.

Council member Corey Blair told King the sheriff’s office was doing a “fabulous job” with Algonac.

“I’m glad you’re here and we couldn’t ask for better sheriff service than what I believe we have in St. Clair County,” he said.

Board member Raymond Martin said he appreciated all the information because it is important to know it. He said he had known King for some time and was doing a good job.

King said St. Clair County law enforcement knows how good they are with the support of the public.

“We are not perfect; if there are any mistakes we will correct them, but the continued support makes our job very rewarding and that is what we are all committed to, ”he said. “We want to help people, so thank you all for your support. “

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