By CHARITY B. SMITH
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK — Allen Park residents were informed about the status of crime in their city and ways to prevent and stop it, by police Sgt. Wayne Albright Oct. 28.
Albright, a 21-year veteran of the force, is coordinating and executing the meetings on his own time to inform residents of what is going on within their city and the department.
“I want to bridge the gap between the Police Department and the citizens,” said Albright, who is also a resident of the city. “With today’s technology more people want more information all the time.”
Albright discussed the recent arrests of seven people who were responsible for 20 break-ins in the city. He said the reason people stop hearing about things is that the Police Department has solved it, not ignored it, and moved on to the next case.
Crime, he said, has its highs and lows. There is a surge of crime, police make arrests, the perpetrators do some time and get out, and the problem cycles again, Albright said.
He also acknowledged that there is a problem with vehicle traffic at the schools.
“It is actually a problem every year,” Albright said. “We have eight schools with 600 to 800 students per school. That makes for at least 400 cars coming and going from each school both in the morning and at night. The difference this year is social media.”
He said the department has only four patrol officers on duty at a time, which is not enough to monitor all eight schools.
“Even if your school is lucky enough to have one of the four officers monitoring it. The officer can’t be on all four streets surrounding it at once,” he said. “It is really the parents’ responsibility to drive safely around the schools.”
Albright said he sat in front of Lindemann Elementary School on Oct. 27 to monitor traffic as he waited for his daughter to get out of school. He watched as seven of about 21 parents drove to the school while talking on a cellular device.
He encouraged parents to put down the phones in the school zone.
The recent raid of a marijuana grow house on Winona Street also was a topic of interest. Albright explained the process of identifying the problem following the complaint and how police encouraged the Downriver Alcohol and Narcotics Organization to move quickly on the problem as they had had several complaints from neighbors.
He said the renter was a Lincoln Park resident, but was renting the home in Allen Park for the sole purpose of growing marijuana. DRANO, he said, recovered at least seven pounds of marijuana from the home.
The man was a both a licensed caregiver and a recipient of medical marijuana, which entitled him to grow up to 72 plants. His licenses and paperwork, however, were not in order and he had more plants than he was allowed.
Albright told residents what to look for in a grow house, such as an overwhelming smell, melting blinds, foil in the windows, high traffic and an electric meter that is running exceptionally fast.
“The problem is there is no set of checks and balances in place for these operations,” he said. “Had the man had all his paperwork in order and the allotted amount of plants, there would have been nothing we could do, but send in an ordinance officer to keep him up to code.”
Albright suggested that people who didn’t want a grow operation near them to contact the city council.
“It is a danger that is sometimes hard to detect,” he said. “I’ve gone into grow operations where you don’t even want to enter because you can feel the heat of the electricity and hear the buzzing. It’s a huge fire hazard.”
Albright said his next crime prevention meeting will be held in late February or early March.
(Charity B. Smith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)