To Serve and Protect... More Than Just a Slogan
Niles Police Offices (left to right) Chief Millin, Schoff, Lt. Stanton, Sgt. Swanson, Glick, Lick, Kosten, and Bosch
The City of Niles Police Department can not stress enough how important it is to be aware of how to protect your family from online predators and scam artists. Here is another reminder: The internet is a common pastime for both adults and children. Most of us use the internet for work, school, or entertainment every day. Millions of children use the internet to communicate through e-mails and chat rooms. If left unsupervised the internet can be dangerous and expose children to predators and inappropriate material. Due to the increase in technology and internet use many criminals have turned to the computer as an aid for them to commit crimes. Crimes using the computer can include: harassment/stalking, ID theft, scams, and child sexual solicitations.
Harassment / Stalking:
It is a crime to use the computer to harass or stalk. If you feel you are being harassed or stalked by someone on the computer, tell them to stop contacting you. If the contact continues save all transmissions and report this to the police.
ID Theft / Scams:
Criminals can use personal information you provide over the internet to steal your identity. They can then use your credit, establish loans, and create fictitious IDs using your information. This can ruin your financial status and cost you a lot of time and money to repair the damage. Check your credit report often to catch any fraudulent activities early, and report any fraud to the police.
No legitimate financial institution, credit card company, or business will EVER contact you by e-mail asking you for personal information (passwords, screen names, credit card numbers, etc.). These messages are scams and they try to pressure you into giving out this information over the computer. If you receive this type of request you should automatically assume it is a scam and do not respond.
Child Sexual Solicitations:
People who are dangerous may use internet chat rooms to solicit children. They will pose as a young boy or girl, hoping to "lure" a child. They will try to build a friendship with a child over the internet and gain their trust. They may send gifts, encourage them to distance themselves from parents, and may try to arrange a face to face meeting with that child.
These type of people are very manipulative and can have an affect even on kids who are "guarded". If you feel your child is being solicited save all transmissions and report this to the police.
Safety Tips For Parents/Children:
Parents should be monitoring their child's computer use. Under this supervision the internet can be an overall positive experience for children. Here are a few tips to help keep your child safe:
1. Keep the computer in a common area so it can be monitored easily.
2. Do not allow your child to have their own password.
3. Do not give out any personal information such as name, birth date, address, phone number, school the child attends, etc. Be aware of passive comments about a child's hang out spot, sports they are involved in, or their routine activities.
4. Computer savvy people can track down a child knowing only their "screen name". Have children use a general screen name that won't draw attention by giving away whether they are a male or female.
5. Posting pictures and giving out personal information on My Space.com, Xanga.com, or other personal space web sites, gives dangerous people all the information they are looking for. It also gives enough information for someone to steal your identity.
6. Never agree to a face to face meeting or allow someone to visit you at home.
7. Explain to your child the dangers of giving out personal information, and tell them you will be monitoring their computer transmissions.
8. Do not respond to messages that are obscene, threatening, or make you feel uncomfortable. Immediately tell your parents if you come across something that makes you feel uncomfortable.
9. Use filtering or blocking software in addition to parental supervision.
10. Diligent parental supervision is the most important way to help ensure your child's safety on the internet.
Internet Guidelines You Should Know
The Niles Police Department is committed to helping our residents learn ways to keep their families safe from harm. The following is a partial list of important safety tips for internet users. Please discuss these tips with your family.
Internet Guidelines for Parents and Guardians
- Place the computer in a common area of the residence rather than a bedroom. This will encourage online time to be a family oriented activity.
- Become familiar with the people and web sites your children are interacting with on the internet, just as you would get to know all of their other friends.
- Try to select non-descriptive Account Names and Screen Names for your children. Their online names should not be too specific or identify or describe them in detail.
- Remind your children not to provide their real name, phone number, address, or other personal information to anyone to whom they meet online, and never to meet face to face with anyone they have met through the internet.
- Set reasonable guidelines for your children's time online and remember that the computer should not be thought of as a "babysitter". The guidelines should be age appropriate . . what is acceptable for a teenager may not be o.k. for a younger child.
- Remind your children that the rules are the same for any computer they use, whether at home, a friend's house, school, or the public library. Assure them that they can talk with you about things that happen on the internet. If they fear that they will lose their internet access, they may be reluctant to talk about anything bad that happened on the internet.
Internet Guidelines for Teenagers
- Never give out your personal information, your real name, address, or phone number, or any personal information about your family or friends without their permission.
- Be careful in chat rooms. Don't get involved in fights or use obscene language. You could be reported and have your internet service suspended or cancelled.
- If you are in a chat room and someone makes you feel uncomfortable, attempts to start a fight with you, or uses offensive language, leave the room.
- Ignore obscene or offensive messages. Replying may cause the sender to continue to send such messages.
- Be careful in joining mailing lists, some may make your personal information public. Don't provide an address or phone number. The information for which you are signing up is sent to the e-mail address you provide, so they don't need your address or phone number.
- Beware of offers for free items, get rich quick, or weight loss offers. They may be a scam.
- Beware of e-mail from people you don't know or e-mail you weren't expecting. It may contain a virus designed to damage your computer or send your account name and password back to the sender.
- Never send your picture to someone you don't know or trust. Remember, the internet allows people to become anyone they want to be, and they may be someone you don't really want to know
- Never give your name, address or phone number to anyone on the internet.
- Do not go into chat rooms without your parent's help.
- If you get a message that makes you feel uncomfortable, don't respond to it, and be sure to tell your parents.
- Don't join a mailing list without your parent's permission.
- Don't open e-mail from anyone you don't know. It might be a virus which could damage your computer.
- Don't believe everything people on the internet tell you. Since you can't see the other person, you don't know who they really are.
- Never agree to buy or trade anything on the internet without your parent's permission.
- Never agree to meet anyone you met on the internet, and never send pictures of yourself over the internet.
Help Your Children Be Better Pedestrians and Bicyclists
The excitement of your child's first steps. The thrill of their being able to balance a bicycle without training wheels. These are among the fondest memories of any child's growth and development. For the child, these events are early steps towards independence. No longer are they dependent on their parents for mobility. But this independence is filled with hazards, as the unsuspecting child encounters cars, trucks and their drivers in what the child considers to be his or her play space.
Children act differently in traffic than adults
Children are children, not young adults. It's important to understand children's limitations in understanding traffic.
- Have a narrower field of vision than adults, about 1/3 less. Cannot easily judge a car's speed and distance.
- Assume that if they can see a car, its driver must be able to see them. However, children are easily hidden from view by parked cars and other objects.
- Cannot readily tell the direction a sound is coming from.
- May be impatient and impulsive.
- Concentrate on one thing at a time. This is likely not to be traffic.
- Have a limited sense of danger.
- Often mix fantasy with reality.
- Imitate the (often bad) behavior of others, especially older children and adults.
Ten ways to help children become better pedestrians and cyclists
- Give your child only as much independence and responsibility as s/he can handle safely. Throughout childhood, children slowly develop the cognitive, perceptual and sensory skills necessary to be safe in traffic.
- Remember that each child is unique. Do not base rules for one child on those for siblings, cousins or neighbors. Children of the same age may require different levels of supervision in traffic.
- Evaluate your child's behavior out of traffic. Is s/he impulsive? Does s/he stop to think before acting? Distractible? Can s/he sustain attention on something important? Is s/he a risk-taker? It is likely that your child's behavior in traffic will resemble behavior out of traffic.
- Consider any limitations your child has and how these might influence his or her behavior in traffic. For example, does your child have vision problems? Hearing impairment? Cognitive or judgment limitations? Physical handicaps?
- Give your child practice in traffic. Frequent supervised experiences can help children develop good traffic safety habits.
- Teach your child the rules of walking and bicycling safety as you encounter traffic situations. Ask your children to repeat rules back to you.
- Do not assume your child will follow the rules just because s/he can verbalize them. Let your child lead you in traffic to help you assess how well s/he follows the rules. Set up situations with your child in which you shadow him/her (walk 10-15 feet behind) to allow semi-independence.
- Grant independence in small steps to see how your child handles it. For example, let your child progress from playing in front of the house to playing on the block, to walking around the block, to crossing one street, etc.
- Always model appropriate traffic safety practices yourself, whether you are walking, bicycling or driving! Children learn from important people around them.
- Be a careful driver, watch for children who may not yet have developed good traffic safety habits. Their safety is in your hands.
These children participated in the Niles City Police Department's "Fish with a Cop" Summer Program. The program brings children of the Parks and Recreation's Summer Park Program together to participate in lots of fun activities while learning about safety issues. . . and the best part is everyone who wants gets to go fishing with the police officers who volunteer their time. The main supporter of the "Fish with a Cop" program is our own local Wal-mart Store. Program Coordinator Officer Kevin Kosten (far left) says that the Police Department has a lot of community supporters, but that Wal-Mart and Wal-mart executive Mary Jane Davis (far right) have been especially generous to this particular program providing everything from fishing gear and prizes for activities to gifts for each child. Thank You Wal-mart!
And let's not forget one of the Best Fishing Holes in Niles. . .
A BIG Thank You to the Spaulding Family for allowing us to use Spaulding Lake
Police, fire, and ambulance dispatchers, also called public safety dispatchers or 911 operators, monitor the location of emergency services personnel from one or all of the jurisdiction’s emergency services departments. These workers dispatch the appropriate type and number of units in response to calls for assistance. Dispatchers often are the first people the public contacts when emergency assistance is required. If certified for emergency medical services, the dispatcher may provide medical instruction to those on the scene of the emergency until the medical staff arrives.
Public service dispatchers work in a variety of settings—a police station, a fire station, a hospital, or, increasingly, a centralized communications center. When handling calls, dispatchers question each caller carefully to determine the type, seriousness, and location of the emergency. The information obtained is posted either electronically by computer or, with decreasing frequency, by hand. The dispatcher then quickly decides the priority of the incident, the kind and number of units needed, and the location of the closest and most suitable units available. When appropriate, dispatchers stay in close contact with other service providers—for example, a police dispatcher would monitor the response of the fire department when there is a major fire. In a medical emergency, dispatchers keep in close touch not only with the dispatched units, but also with the caller. They may give extensive first-aid instructions before the emergency personnel arrive, while the caller is waiting for the ambulance. Dispatchers continuously give updates on the patient’s condition to the ambulance personnel and often serve as a link between the medical staff in a hospital and the emergency medical technicians in the ambulance.
The work of dispatchers can be very hectic when many calls come in at the same time. The job of public safety dispatchers is particularly stressful because a slow or an improper response to a call can result in serious injury or further harm. Also, callers who are anxious or afraid may become excited and be unable to provide needed information; some may even become abusive. Despite provocations, dispatchers must remain calm, objective, and in control of the situation. Dispatchers sit for long periods, using telephones, computers, and two-way radios. Much of their time is spent at video display terminals, viewing monitors and observing traffic patterns. As a result of working for long stretches with computers and other electronic equipment, dispatchers can experience significant eyestrain and back discomfort. Generally, dispatchers work a 40-hour week; however, rotating shifts and compressed work schedules are common. Alternative work schedules are necessary to accommodate evening, weekend, and holiday work and 24-hour-per-day, 7-day-per-week operations.
What is an Abandoned Vehicle?
Abandoned vehicle by garage.There were significant changes to the abandoned vehicle law that took effect on October 1, 2005. Many of these changes directly affect vehicle and property owners in Niles.
An abandoned vehicle is a vehicle that remains on private property without the property owner's consent. An abandoned vehicle is also a vehicle that remains on public property for 48 hours or on a state trunk line for 18 hours after a Police Department has affixed an Abandoned Vehicle Tag to the vehicle.
There are also abandoned scrap vehicles. Abandoned scrap vehicles meet all the definitions in the previous paragraph and are 7 or more years old and are apparently inoperable or extensively damaged to the extent that the cost of repair exceeds the value of the vehicle. The picture on the right shows an attempt to “hide” an abandoned vehicle with trash cans and other items. The picture below shows what is considered an abandoned scrap vehicle.WHAT IS AN ABANDONED VEHICLE?
If you are a property owner of a single family or dual family residence you may have an abandoned or scrap abandoned vehicle removed, simply by called the towing service of your choice. Abandoned vehicles are removed by towing services at no cost to the property owner. If you are a property owner or lessor of property that is not a single family or dual family residence you must have an abandoned vehicle notice posted which meets the following criteria prior to removing an abandoned vehicle.
- The notice shall be prominently displayed at a point of entry for vehicular access to the property. If the property lacks curbs or access barriers, not less than 1 notice shall be posted for each 100 feet of road frontage.
- The notice clearly indicates in letters not less than 2 inches high on a contrasting background that unauthorized vehicles will be towed at the owner's expense.
- The notice provides the name and telephone number of the towing service responsible for towing or removing vehicles from that property.
- The notice is permanently installed with the bottom of the notice located not less than 4 feet from the ground, and is continuously maintained on the property for not less than 24 hours before the vehicle is towed or removed.
If you are the owner of an abandoned vehicle which has been removed from a property you can secure release by paying the towing service, the accrued charges and a $40.00 abandoned vehicle fee. There is also an appeal process if the owner feels their vehicle should not have been removed from the property.
The State of Michigan also has a new web site for locating lost and found vehicles. You can go to http://services.sos.state.mi.us/autolostandfound/ for the disposition of vehicles reported as abandoned.
The winter driving season is here. It is amazing how many of us quickly forget our winter driving skills. For example, we all should know that you cannot stop as fast on an icy or snow-covered road as you can on dry pavement, and that often the most slippery surfaces do not appear hazardous, like on bridges, overpasses, and underpasses. And don't be overly confident if your vehicle has anti-lock brakes; there is no substitute for using caution when traveling on slippery roads.
Many people get into trouble by assuming the roads will not be slippery unless the temperature is freezing or below. Ice can form on road surfaces, however, anytime the air temperature drops to 40 degrees or less, especially when it is windy. Bridges and underpasses can be especially hazardous, but these are not the only locations "black ice" can form. Any low or shaded area, area surrounded by landscape, or area that has a source of water running over the pavement can also be quick to form ice. Early morning hours are especially dangerous as the moisture has had an opportunity to sit on the cold pavement and freeze.
Others find themselves in trouble during the winter while driving on roads seemingly clear or only slightly wet, and then try to stop at an intersection only to discover that it is ice-covered and slippery. This is caused by moisture emitted from the exhaust of cars waiting at a busy intersection and quickly freezing on the pavement. Always approach intersections cautiously.
If you find yourself beginning to slide on snow or ice, DON'T PANIC. Take your foot off the gas and DO NOT hit the brakes. Steer the front of your vehicle into the skid (the same direction you are sliding). This technique is used in both front- and rear-wheel-drive vehicles. If you must use the brakes, do not allow them to lock up; gently pump the brake pedal, unless your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes. If your car has anti-lock brakes, use a firm, steady pressure WITHOUT pumping. The grinding noise you hear and the surging you feel in the pedal is normal and indicates the brakes are working properly, allowing you to continue to steer and control the vehicle. And for 4-wheel-drive owners, always remember that a 4-wheel-drive vehicle provides additional traction that is useful for going through deep snow, but it does not stop any faster.
Some other basic safety tips for winter driving include allowing extra time to arrive at your destination. Slow down and be alert for other vehicles around you that may lose control, and allow at least 4 seconds between vehicles. It is also recommend that you allow no less than a car-length in front of you when you are stopped behind another vehicle at a slippery intersection, and then watch your rear-view mirror for cars that may approach you too fast from behind. Often this extra margin of safety will allow you to pull forward in the event that an approaching vehicle begins to slide.
Just as important as good driving skills, however, are some commonsense issues that could save your life in the event you become broken down or stranded. A good place to start is with some "preventive maintenance." Make sure your car is in good mechanical condition. Temperature extremes always bring out the worst in your car, like dead batteries, soft tires, gasoline freeze, and carburetor and heating problems. Make sure that your antifreeze is at the proper level and that your wiper blades are new and your washer reservoir is full.
Prepare an emergency kit for your car. Include things that prepare you for the unexpected -- what would you need if you found yourself stranded miles from help during a snow storm? Include things like warm clothing, boots, stocking cap, gloves or mittens, flashlight with fresh batteries, flares, small shovel, sand or kitty litter, blankets, and fresh first-aid supplies. You may also want to include candy bars or other nutritious snacks, as well as a supply of small candles and matches to light them with. A single lit candle in your vehicle can provide warmth that will help you survive for many hours, and with precautions is much safer than letting the engine run.
During inclement weather let people know where you are going, your route of travel, and when you expect to arrive. Cell phones are a great safety insurance against breakdowns and getting stranded -- but may do little good if you don't know where you are! Stay alert and know precisely where you are at all times in the event you need to call for help. Watch for road signs and landmarks.
Winter roadway conditions can be checked by calling the Michigan State Police Winter Travel Hotline at 1-800-381-8477 or the AAA Snow Report at 1-800-644-7669. Winter travel conditions can also be found on the web by going to www.michigan.gov/msp and clicking the link for MSP News and Events and then clicking the link for Roads and Weather. The winter road condition web site is maintained from late November through March 30 each year.
Keep Your Eyes on the Road
Never Drink and Drive
Always Wear Your Seat Belts