Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

Wakefield MSP hosts community open house

By MEGAN HUGHES

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Wakefield — The Wakefield Post of the Michigan State Police hosted an open house on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

“Although we are hosting it, my goal here was to bring in multiple resources from different agencies that provide law enforcement and first responder services in Gogebic County,” said MSP Post Commander 1st Lt. Chris Gerard. “To show the community what it is that not only the Michigan State Police do, but what (all of us) offer to the community.”

According to Gerard, along with the MSP, some of the other groups at the event included the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department, the Beacon Ambulance, Gogebic County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Gogebic County search and rescue, and victim services.

“It was a fun event to bring our first responders together,” he said.

Gerard said the event also gave members from the various agencies a chance to interact and catch up.

“We have been planning this for probably two and a half months or so,” said Gerard. “It takes quite a while. We got a date and a time established, which we had to tweak a little bit to make sure we got the most number of resources to attend as possible.”

Among the attendees were pre-K students on a field trip from the nearby Wakefield-Marenisco School. They came early in the day.

The Gogebic County Sheriff’s Department officials were at the event speaking about Project Lifesaver, a project that centers on helping search and rescue teams by making it easier to locate cognitively impaired individuals who may have wandered off.

“It’s for anyone with a cognitive impairment, it could be autism, dementia, anyone prone to wandering off,” said Deputy Haley Schneider. The transmitter that the person wears is a small device that can be worn like a bracelet, and transmits their signal to systems at the sheriff’s department.

She said the program is entirely free, as the department received a grant that allowed it to purchase 30 transmitters, adding they hope that people will take advantage of the resource. Thus far there are eight of the transmitters being used.

More information on project lifesaver, is available from the sheriff’s department.

Members of the Wakefield Volunteer Fire Department demonstrated their wireless jaws of life tools. Training officer Mike Yon and Assistant Chief Gary Pikka said the tools being wireless have proven to be a blessing, as it means that in case of rescues the firefighters do not need to worry about tripping over the heavy wires.

Yon said the pre-kindergarteners came down before lunch to watch a demonstration where the department used the jaws to pry open a car door.

Gerard said he is hopeful that the MSP Wakefield Post will welcome a couple more troopers and update some of its systems in the near future.

“We have got such a good group of troopers and sergeants and admin staff. I couldn’t ask for a better building to work out of as far as our people,” said Gerard. “We have such a great relationship with our resources, our local partners, ambulance, fire, both Sheriff Solberg and Undersheriff Cruz, and all the other agencies.

“As far as numbers, we are looking to add a couple more troopers to bulk up our numbers a bit. We are going to just continue to host or attend other events where we can build upon the positive relationships we have going.”

 
 
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