Report Details Dozens Of Citations, Arrests On Belle Isle Since State Takeover
DETROIT (WWJ) – A report released by the Michigan Department of Natural Resource details more than 30 police stops on Belle Isle since it became a state park.
In one of the most unusual stops listed, a man was driving his girlfriend and her father around Belle Isle for her birthday when he was pulled over for speeding. As it turns out, the dad had one felony warrant and six misdemeanor warrants out for his arrest. The boyfriend had a whopping 34 misdemeanor warrants for his arrest. Both men were arrested and the girlfriend was released to finish her birthday tour of the island on her own.
Another motorist pulled over for speeding on the island didn’t have a driver’s license, but did have five warrants out for his arrest.
In a third reported incident, a motorist was arrested when officers found a half-pound of marijuana in his trunk.
“So I hope that once the summer comes and people are coming to Belle Isle, they know the rules that are in place and what the restrictions are, and we’ll begin to see some stops become less and less,” Detroit City Councilman Andre Spivey told WWJ Newsradio 950′s Vickie Thomas.
“One of the challenges for us before, we didn’t have enough police on the island, and those police who were there were doing the best they could,” Spivey said. “When you add Michigan State Police, when you add conservation officers, there’s a greater presence. And, so, it’s probably now we’re seeing enforced what should’ve been enforced a long time ago.”
Under the terms of a 30-year lease, the state took control of the Detroit-owned 985-acre island park on Feb. 10.
There have since been some complaints from Detroiters about “random” stops made by state police and conservation officers on the island, but officers deny that, saying most of the stops are for speeding.
A ban is in place on drinking and drug use on Belle Isle, although police have said there won’t be extreme enforcement of the no-alcohol policy. For example, police said, a couple enjoying some wine with their picnic would likely be left alone.