Community Services Unit

Please Note - Locations and hours of operations for the other Kent County Sheriff Department offices.

Deputy-Dieppa.jpg
Deputy Omar Dieppa

The East Precinct of the Kent County Sheriff's Department is pleased to welcome Deputy Omar Dieppa, who will be serving Cascade Township in the Community Services Unit.  If you have any questions for Deputy Dieppa, he can be contacted at (616) 632-6435 or you can send an email

The Community Services Unit of the Kent County Sheriff's Department is dedicated to offering citizens educational services, long term problem solving, and safety presentations.  These include boater, snowmobile, hunter and gun safety programs, personal safety presentations and neighborhood watch programs.   

Community police officers are becoming more active in neighborhoods and schools with a proactive approach to safety and issues of crime.

Bicycle Safety Tips
Identity Theft
Lock It or Lose It
Neighborhood Watch
Volunteer Courtesy Trail Patrol
Winter Driving Tips
 

Bicycle Safety Tips

The warm weather is upon us and with that comes the need to remember important bicycle safety tips:

  • Remember, a bike is not a toy. It is a vehicle on the road and is subject to traffic laws and rules of safe conduct.
  • While riding in the street, go in the same direction as traffic, but stay far over to the right side of the road.
  • Never ride two persons on one bicycle.
  • Stop at every red light, just like a car. Always look to the left, right, and left again before proceeding into an intersection.
  • It would be best not to ride after dark, but if you do for some reason, wear light colored clothes and by law you must have a headlight and rear reflectors on the bike.
  • Have all major bicycle repairs done by a trained bicycle mechanic.
  • Never carry any objects in your hands. Use a carrying rack or backpack.
  • Be alert for road hazards such as: pot holes, manhole covers, storm sewer grates, and loose gravel.
  • Use your head to ride safe…not to land on if you fall from your bike. The smart way to use your head is by putting a safety helmet on it. Make sure it fits correctly. If it's too loose it will not protect you. You can make it nice and snug with adjusting pads available at your local bike shop.
  • Remember to share these safety tips with your children, practice them, and make sure your child puts a helmet on whenever he or she gets on their bike, even in your driveway.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding bicycle safety, or rules of the road feel free to contact me anytime.

Deputy Omar Dieppa
East Precinct Community Police
632-6435
omar.dieppa@kentcountymi.gov

Identity Theft

Anybody can be a victim. You may be a victim and not even know it.  Anybody with a social security number, regardless whether or not you have credit cards, mortgages, loans, etc. can be a victim of identity theft.  

What Is It?

  • Identity theft is the fraudulent use of your name and identifying data by     someone else to obtain credit, merchandise, or services.
  • Identity theft is the nations fastest growing financial crime, and the damages to consumers are becoming astronomical.
  • Identity theft claimed approx. 9.9 million victims last year alone.
  • On average, 1 in every 5 households has experienced some form of Identity theft.
  • Victims typically lose approx. $1,000 dollars and can spend up to 2 years trying to clear their name and credit.
  • Identity theft is an equal opportunity crime, affecting victims of all races, incomes, and ages.
  • Identity theft cannot be 100% prevented from occurring but you can minimize your risk by managing your personal information cautiously and diligently.

How Identity Theft Occurs

  • "The government standard of true identity" for you to prove who you are, you need to prove three things. Your name, social security number, and your date of birth.
  • Thieves obtain your personal information and use this to open accounts, credit cards, and obtain merchandise or services under your name

How do criminals obtain this information?

  • Sorting through discarded trash. Dumpster diving is very common at places of business, i.e. car rental companies
  • Mail theft - incoming and outgoing mail
  • Shoulder surfing (looking over your shoulder while making a transaction)
  • Telephone solicitation / phone scams
  • Public records, the internet
  • Pre-approved credit card applications
  • Through consumer collection points i.e. sweepstake forms, warranty cards, applications.
  • Using an accomplice within one of these organizations.
  • Using a skimmer device, a small device which they can scan your credit card information without your knowledge and obtain all your identification off of it.
  • Stolen wallets and purses
  • Other personal information available to them, which may be on display in your home, in your vehicle or work location.

How to minimize your risk of Identity fraud

  • Shredder (cross) - shred all personal information before discarding.
  • When filling out cards for sweepstakes or drawings, etc., remember your information may be sold to mailing lists.  Inquire whether your information can be removed from this list.    
  • Mail bills and other personal information at the post office. (Mailbox flag up is a signal for criminals wanting to steal your mail)
  • Keep all financial documents in a secure place.
  • Before providing personal information, make sure the individual or business has a valid reason for requiring it.
  • Do not give out personal information over the phone, unless you initiated the call to a known and respected company.
  • Same goes for solicitation over the phone, do not give money or other contribution over the phone. If you wish to contribute to their cause, find out who they are and then look them up yourself. (i.e. Michigan Sheriff Association asking for you to give money. I suggest contacting your local police to give donation.)
  • Be cautious and keep an eye on your credit cards at all times. (I.e. restaurant)
  • When ordering checks have them sent to your bank.
  • Have regular income checks electronically deposited in your account
  • Include "check I.D." along with signature on back of credit cards.
  • Get a copy of your credit report from the three credit bureaus annually to verify your accounts and report any discrepancies.
  • Do not carry Social Security cards around with you.
  • Check financial statements promptly, looking for charges you did not make.

What to do if your Identity's been stolen

  • Review and place a fraud alert on your credit reports.
  • Close only those accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.  Review existing accounts regularly checking for discrepancies.
  • File a report with the local police in the community where the identity theft took place.
  • File a complaint with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission)

To file a complaint or to learn more about Identity theft, visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft.  Or call 1-877-438-4338.

Credit Bureaus

Equifax - to order a report, call 1-800-685-1111; to report fraud, call: 1-800-525-6285.

Experian - to order a report, call: 1-888-397-3742; to report fraud, call: 1-888-397-3742.

Trans Union - to order a report, call: 1-800-916-8800; to report fraud, call: 1-800-680-7289.

Any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me,

Deputy Omar Dieppa
East Precinct Community Police
632-6435

Lock It or Lose It

REMOVE
Valuables from Vehicles Your Vehicles:
The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” bears true with criminals. Bring valuables into the house from your vehicle. When away from your home, lock valuables in the trunk of your vehicle. Never leave purses, wallets, cellular phones, jewelry or other valuables in your parked, unattended vehicle.
 
LOCK your vehicles
Most criminals are not breaking windows to steal your property. The vast majority of vehicle larcenies are from unlocked cars and trucks. Locking your vehicle is the easiest way to prevent from becoming a victim.
 
REPORT Any Suspicious Activity
Police need your help to be the “eyes and ears” in our community. When you observe someone or something suspicious, call 911 immediately. The assistance of our residents is how we are able to catch most criminals that break into cars. Don't hesitate, report it.

Lock It or Lose It
 

Neighborhood Watch

This page will introduce you to the concept of Neighborhood Watch in Cascade Charter Township. Please read it over and consider bringing Neighborhood Watch to your block.

The Cascade Township Neighborhood Watch program is intended for anyone who would like to feel safer in their neighborhoods. It is not a vigilante program, nor is it a program of citizens on patrol in their neighborhoods. It is a program that encourages neighbors to get to know each other, to watch out for each other, and to call the police when something just doesn't seem right.

You can have a safer neighborhood. Despite your age, sex, race, occupation, or past experiences, you can substantially reduce your risk of criminal victimization.

Studies have shown that neighborhoods whose residents pull together and form active Neighborhood Watch groups and implement simple low-cost crime prevention programs can drastically cut their crime rates.

Remember, the best crime prevention tool is a good neighbor!

The driving force behind starting a Neighborhood Watch program is the prevention and reduction of crime. A properly implemented program will also serve other needs in the community. Once the program is in place, it can be used as a forum for training in other areas such as General Safety Education, Car Seat Safety, Bicycle Safety, as well as Fire Prevention, Disaster Preparedness, and City Planning. It can also become the basis for block parties and other social events, truly helping to put the "neighbor" back in the word neighborhood.

If you are interested in bringing Neighborhood Watch to your block, please contact your local community policing officer, Deputy Omar Dieppa at 632-6435 or by email at omar.dieppa@kentcountymi.gov.  It really doesn't take a lot of work on your part. We put your first meeting on for you. From there, you set your own pace as far as how active you want to be and how often you want to meet. We're looking forward to hearing from you!

Volunteer Courtesy Trail Patrol

During the months of May thru October we will be starting the Volunteer Courtesy Trail Patrol program again. This is a group of volunteers coordinated through the Sheriff's Community Services Unit. The volunteers will be on the east trails to report suspicious or inappropriate activity. These volunteers will provide direction and assistance to trail users and report safety concerns to the Kent County Sheriff Department. These volunteers will not provide enforcement and do not have police powers, however, they will document times and locations of violations or suspicious activity.

The volunteers will display picture ID and wear recognizable vests so trail users can feel safe in approaching them. They will work in pairs or by themselves. Biking, walking, and rollerblading are the most common patrol techniques. The patrol takes place during daylight hours on the paved portions of the trail system. Each volunteer will have available a phone, and safety pack to aid in their patrol. They will have the ability to contact the Sheriff's department in case of assistance or to report inappropriate activity.

This is a great opportunity to enjoy our wonderful east trail system, while providing a great service to your community. If you would like to join our program or have any questions, concerns, suggestions or comments please feel free to contact me.

Deputy Omar Dieppa
East Precinct Community Police
632-6435
omar.dieppa@kentcountymi.gov
 

Winter Driving Tips

Winter Driving TipsIt's that time of year again: snow, sleet and ice. Driving in the winter month's means traveling road conditions, which could lead to unforeseen dangers.

Preparing for winter driving:

  1. Before taking any vehicle on the road in the winter, have it tuned up.
  2. Test brakes, battery, check fluid levels, add anti-freeze accordingly.
  3. Have emergency equipment i.e. Sand/kitty litter, shovel, ice scraper, jumper cables, blankets, flashlight with working batteries.
  4. Cell phone for emergencies.
  5. Keep your fuel tank as full as possible. Condensation will be at a minimum and the added weight will help maximize traction and handling on slick roads.

"Any small problems you had with your car in good weather will be bigger problems in bad weather."

Safe winter driving tips:

  1. Warming car up; never warm vehicle up inside of garages or other closed areas, pull the vehicle out of garage and shut garage door to reduce carbon monoxide build up. Have extra set of keys and lock vehicle up, to reduce theft and accidents.
  2. Frost; Make sure to scrape all frost from windows prior to driving, it is very important that all windows be free of frost before the vehicle is driven.
  3. Snow; Remove all snow from windows, headlights, taillights, mirrors, and any auxiliary lighting, including license plate area. It is important that all these items are free of snow/ice so you can see and be seen.
  4. Dirt/Road Grime; Dirt and road grime will cover the lenses of your headlights and taillights, reducing the brightness of the lights. When traveling for long periods of time stop periodically to check these areas.
  5. Reduced Braking Capacity; Remember that you will need to slow down and begin breaking much sooner on snow or ice covered roads. Make sure to leave extra space between vehicles for stopping.
  6. Watch for slippery bridge decks; Even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition bridge decks will ice up sooner.
  7. 4x4 Vehicles; Do not get over confident in your 4x4 vehicle. Remember that your 4x4 vehicle may help you get going quicker but will not help you stop any faster. Your 4x4 vehicle can lose traction just as fast as 2-wheel vehicle.

Respect the winter weather:

  1. Road conditions; Know the current road conditions, watch local weather forecasts, listen to radio while traveling for updated accident and road conditions.
  2. Plan ahead; Leave extra time for traveling, a trip that might take you 30 minutes may take up to an hour in the winter.
  3. Speed; Its almost like everybody forgets how to drive when the snow/ice hits again. Remember to cut your speed in half to be safe.

These tips are designed to alert motorists of some of the most common safety concerns that police officers see on the road in the wintertime. If you have any questions or if any issue is not addressed here please feel free to contact me at any time.

Deputy Omar Dieppa
East Precinct Community Police
632-6435
omar.dieppa@kentcountymi.gov