A collaboration between Sheriff C.O. Balderson and the Placid Bay Civic Association (PBCA) continues to make strides in improving that community’s safety and quality of life. Recent program developments suggest that progress will continue under the leadership of new PBCA president Christina Early Gruescecki.
Under the leadership of previous president Dr. John L. Johnson, PBCA instituted what the group termed a “community policing collaboration” with Sheriff Balderson. From past experience, PBCA knew they could turn to Balderson when in need. When a weather disaster washed out roads almost two years ago, Dr. Johnson says, “We had about 50 families who couldn’t get in or out. The Sheriff was very helpful about bringing in bicycles.”
The community began to experience arson activity about a year and a half ago, Johnson says. In that time, they’ve suffered between seven and nine arson fires, according to Johnson.
So Johnson called on the Sheriff and his staff. “We set a goal together to identify trouble spots. And then the sheriff uses his resources to help resolve those trouble spots,” Johnson says. “The main idea is to reduce the fear of crime by having a consistent police presence.”
The state police task force also initiated an arson investigation which is currently in progress.
Johnson believes the consistent presence of deputies will bolster community safety.
“What we have is a series of unannounced traffic stops in which they stop cars and check driver’s licenses,” he says. “We hope it’s successful in finding people driving without license or bringing drugs into the community. When the deputies come into the community, they come for two hours. So they’re not just driving through.”
The Sheriff and deputies will also bring in unannounced bicycle patrols throughout Placid Bay and into areas “where cars would not be the appropriate way to go in,” Johnson says.
In the future, the Department aims to send a deputy to the Association’s annual meeting to apprise residents of crims.
“They dispel any rumors and the fear of crime,” Johnson says. “It also seems to be letting people know that we’re trying to build a safer, more people-oriented community.
Johnson praises the Sheriff’s Department. “The sheriff has been tremendous on this. We feel privileged to be part of this and to work with the Sheriff’s Department.”
Johnson believes that PBCA will continue to make strides in the collaboration under leadership of Gruescecki. The group continues to set goals and develop programs to increase the quality of life in Placid Bay.
“We also have the TRIAD program which is reducing crime victimization among seniors,” Johnson says. With the help of Sergeant Greg Keyser and Major Hoover, Johnson says, “They plan to have workshops that will instruct people how to protect their property.”