Members of the Chikaming Township Police Department with the newly acquired Certificate of Accreditation: Chief Todd Taylor (center) with (left to right) Officers Alec Carpp, Brandon Jones, Paige Holtz and Kaili Johnson.

HARBERT – Members of the Chikaming Township Police Department were honored during the Oct. 8 meeting of the Chikaming Township Board when they were awarded a Certificate of Accreditation from the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police that was presented by that organization’s executive director Robert Stevenson and accreditation director Neal Rossow.

During his remarks Stevenson noted that of the 601 police departments in Michigan, Chikaming is only the 29th department to receive accreditation status.

“This certificate has been earned, and you are now a flagship department,” Stevenson said. “It took a lot of work and you have truly raised the bar for the citizens of Chikaming Township and the state.

Rossow said that 108 different standards had to be met to achieve the accreditation, and with only five officers on the department Chikaming was the smallest to ever earn that important recognition.

Police Chief Todd Taylor said that when he first started thinking about getting the accreditation he realized it would take lots of work but it would be worth it.

“It’s an honor to be able to receive this award,” Taylor commented. “Our township board has been very supportive of this effort, and we also serve a wonderful supportive community. We’ve achieved this for the community.”

The accreditation status represents a significant professional achievement and acknowledges the implementation of written directives, policies and procedures that are conceptually sound and operationally effective.

A motion to approve an updated police department policies and procedures manual that reflects the standards incorporated in the accreditation certification was approved unanimously.

In other business, after a draft copy of a resolution opposing the placement of revetments along the lakefront was read by supervisor David Bunte, the resolution was adopted by a unanimous vote.

The resolution included language stating that the township believes it is imperative to maintain unfettered beach and shoreline access as it currently exists for the benefit of the physical and mental health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the township, and for all visitors who enjoy the beachfront as a means of physical exercise and mental relaxation.

The final paragraph states: “Now therefore it is resolved that access to the shoreline on the beaches of Lake Michigan is a common form of physical exercise and mental relaxation and enjoyment for the citizens of Chikaming Township and other visitors to Southwest Michigan, and that unfettered access below the ordinary high water mark is necessary to help preserve the physical and mental health, safety, and welfare of our local citizens and visitors, and Chikaming Township opposes any action whatsoever , including the building of any structure or placement of any physical barrier of any nature or sort that would interfere with, prohibit, block, or prevent persons from easily walking, , and/or traversing the area below the ordinary high water mark of Lake Michigan from Townline Road, Union Pier to Warren Dunes State Park through Chikaming Township.”

Trustee Rich Sullivan said that he believed the resolution reflected what the majority of township residents wanted to see done.

A resolution to support a Recreational Funding Fee bill that is currently in the state’s House of Representatives (HB 6161) was also adopted by a unanimous vote.

Bunte said the bill would allow municipalities to collect up to five percent of rental fees that would then be targeted to improve and create more recreational opportunities in the community such as hiking and biking trails.

“We have 476 rentals in the township, and if this bill is passed any funds it generates would be used strictly to enhance recreational opportunities for our residents and visitors,” Bunte said.

Also on the agenda, an update on the Union Pier/Red Arrow Highway Project noted that current work includes the installation of the last sanitary sewer structure that will connect the newly installed sewer to the existing wastewater system.

That work will require temporarily pumping wastewater around the work area, and the wastewater will be pumped through a temporary above ground pipeline from a sanitary structure in Streed Avenue at Red Arrow Highway southwest to Berrien Street and then west on the north side of Berrien Street to Isobel Street.

While the highway will remain open at all times, during the work, Streed Avenue, Nannene Avenue and Berrien Street will be closed at the highway, and Isobel Street will be closed at Berrien Street.

Finally, Bunte said that the Cherry Beach project was currently a “slow go.”

“To date $1,022,000 in donation pledges have been successfully collected, but around $70,000 is still outstanding, and the people who made those pledges are being contacted,” he reported.

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