By John R. Hall

Dennis Luce is counting on his experience and lifelong ties to the Muskegon community to convince voters that he is the right choice for Muskegon County Sheriff in the upcoming primary election. His experience includes working the Ottawa County road patrol and moving up to the position of sergeant. As a sergeant and patrol supervisor with Ottawa County, he was involved with budgeting, grant writing, and local emergency services.

Luce lists several issues that he wants to address if elected sheriff. One of his goals is to increase public safety through community policing initiatives by developing partnerships with local municipalities and schools. He notes that community policing initiatives will allow the sheriff’s office to become more proactive than reactive to issues and allow law enforcement to be more involved within Muskegon area municipalities and school districts. “A safe community is a successful community and it is important to have an effective road patrol unit involved within our communities and our school districts,” Luce said.

Luce sees the need for more training for deputies in order to give them a well-rounded background to match all of their duties. The training should include first aid and CPR as police cruisers are equipped with lifesaving gear such as AEDs and oxygen tanks. “The sheriff’s office would respond as a secondary unit to the existing fire rescue units to medicals if they are in the area,” he added. “In my experience a quick response with an AED during medical emergencies has saved several lives.”

Training should go beyond the deputies, too, according to Luce. It should reach into the community. He would like to see more classes offered including ORV, snowmobile, and boater safety. To go along with this training Luce wants to increase the department’s community involvement, including Muskegon-area school districts. “It is more important than ever to become involved within our communities and offer more services to our Muskegon County residents,” he said.

Luce is very big on volunteer programs, too. He would like to see the creation of a senior volunteer program that conducts residential property checks, enforces handicapped parking violations, and transports property and department vehicles for maintenance services. This program would also go beyond volunteer “work” as well and include volunteer visits to local schools and areas around Muskegon County in order to understand issues that face each local community. “These volunteer efforts will provide the deputies to perform their essential duties as it pertains to law enforcement and will assist in gaining knowledge of potential issues around the county,” he said.

Luce also wants to see more coordination with neighboring police departments, including sharing equipment and resources. Included with this, he wants to use his grants background to explore grant opportunities to assist all departments within Muskegon County. “Collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and other departments with a common goal of serving our Muskegon County residents is extremely important,” he added. “The challenges of unfunded mandates, reduction in local/federal funds, and with the deficit in the sheriff’s office annual budget it is important that we seek all available grants to reinvest in the safety of Muskegon County.”

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