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State Police Defend Enforcement On Belle Isle Despite Concerns

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Belle Isle (WWJ Photo, File)

Belle Isle (WWJ Photo, File)

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Earlier this week, the Michigan State Police addressed the Detroit City Council about concerns over how people are being pulled over in large numbers on the island since the state took over management of the city-owned park back in February.

Michigan State Police Captain Monica Yesh gave a rundown of activity police have seen on the island during the transition.

“We’ve only written 70 tickets for speeding, 37 for driving while not wearing a seat belt and other little non-hazardous violations,” Yesh said.

Michigan State Police Lieutenant Robert Hendricks, an officer in charge of Belle Isle, listed some of the activity over the last couple of months.

“We’ve arrested 14 felons, 61 fugitives and we’ve seized three guns off the island during that same time,” Hendricks said.

Despite those numbers, some city council members expressed concern that many Detroiters no longer feel welcome on Belle Isle.

The state will run the city-owned park under a 30-year lease deal with Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr. The DNR said current park rules and hours remain in effect for the Detroit River island, which is Michigan’s 102nd state park.

“The DNR has worked to ensure a smooth transition for Belle Isle with the goal of enhancing this world-class place for the residents of Detroit and Michigan,” DNR Director Keith Creagh said in a statement. “We are excited to help revitalize this important community gathering place.”

A Recreation Passport is needed to enter Michigan’s state parks, recreation areas and forest campgrounds. Drivers heading to Belle Isle won’t have to get one during the first year of state management until their next license plate registration renewal. If the renewal date is in November, for example, it’s required then.

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