By Angelo Parlove
Saline Police Chief Larry Hrinik and city council discussed the misuse of Saline parks after hours during a council meeting at the beginning of 2017.
“We have had a couple of complaints of people after hours in the parks, so we stepped up some enforcement,” Hrinik told city council back on Jan. 23 during a Saline Police Department progress report.
Due to the citizen complaints, the department expanded its patrols of city parks near the end of 2016, increasing the police presence in the parks after hours, checking them several times nightly to ensure people are not engaging in illegal activities in the areas, such as malicious destruction of property, drug use and underage drinking.
On June 1, an officer patrolling Curtiss Park off West Michigan Avenue about 7 pm observed two occupied vehicles on the north side of the parking lot. The officer then ran the plates on both vehicles, finding the registered owner of a Ford Fusion with Michigan plates to have several outstanding warrants for his arrest, including possession of cocaine out of the Zeeland Police Department.
After approaching the car and requesting identification from the driver, the officer noticed the man was naked from the waste down, wearing only a polo-type shirt and nylons. The man was half-covered with a towel.
When the officer questioned him about the matter, the driver, who was later identified as a 48-year-old Milan man, stated he recently got off work and was changing in the car, planning to take a walk in the woods. According to the police report, the officer observed two cellular phones on the passenger seat, with one playing what appeared to be a movie. There was also a black suitcase in the backseat with men and women’s clothing. A search of the vehicle later revealed the cell phone was playing a pornographic movie.
The Milan man was arrested on the outstanding warrants as well as lewd conduct and behavior. He was transported to the Saline police station for booking. Afterwards, the man was turned over to the Belleville Police Department on a warrant. The case remains open pending review by the city prosecutor for charges.
On June 9, an officer patrolling Curtiss Park about 6 pm observed another Ford Fusion at rest with three occupants. The officer pulled alongside the car to question the individuals. According to the police report, when the officer asked if there was any illegal contents in the vehicle, the parties were nervous and hesitated to answer, while the male driver and rear seat passenger had glassy and bloodshot eyes.
Further, the officer could smell the odor of marijuana coming from inside the car. The officer then pulled ahead and exited his patrol car. Approaching the Fusion, the officer noticed a green leafy substance on the two male individuals and in the vehicle. A search later turned up a marijuana grinder with marijuana inside it, a cigar-blunt and pill bottle in the car.
The driver and rear seat passenger, both 18-year-old Saline men, were issued a citation under local ordinance for the possession of drug paraphernalia. A 15-year-old Saline girl was also in the vehicle, but no charges were issued against her.
The driver’s mother came to the scene to pick him and the Fusion up. The other male passenger was also released at the scene. The girl was transported to the Saline Police Department and picked up by her father.