Sheriff Department’s Marine Division Gets New HQ

By Nick Lico/Photography by Mike Ferdinande

Macomb County has one of the busiest waterways in the nation. Tasked with boaters’ safety on the 30.5 miles of shoreline, 89 square miles of Lake St. Clair and 57 connecting rivers, canals and streams is the responsibility of the Sheriff Department’s Marine Division. To help make their job easier, the county unveiled a new headquarters late last year. The facility replaces the original structure, which was constructed in 1974 and last updated in 1985.

The 14,000-square-foot building includes administrative offices, dispatch, locker rooms for men and women, a boat garage with five adjustable boat wells, a maintenance garage with dive team facilities and an emergency generator. The new headquarters is a welcomed change for those tasked with boater safety.

“With over 30 miles of frontage on Lake St. Clair, and numerous smaller lakes and waterways, Macomb County has countless recreational opportunities for residents and visitors. Along with the fun and enjoyment, however, comes a profound responsibility to safeguard those on the water, while also helping secure our borders, and provide free boater-safety instruction,” said Sheriff Anthony Wickersham. “This new boathouse provides the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office, who have dedicated their professional lives to public service, an updated facility, and cutting edge tools and technology, to better protect our community.”

The Macomb County Sheriff Marine Division was created in 1956 to respond to a growing population in the area and an increasing use of local waterways. Its mission is to maintain water safety on Lake St. Clair through a proactive water patrol presence, boater education and patrol-related water enforcement. Its staff includes eight full-time individuals and four additional deputies during the summer. These personnel are trained and equipped for open water rescue, maritime law enforcement, vessel fire suppression and homeland security efforts.

Additionally, the Sheriff Marine Division has a 76-member volunteer force of Marine Safety Officers that Wickersham describes as one of the largest reserve units in the state. The volunteer force provides additional resources for water patrol-related activities and public education related events. This support allows the Marine Division to log more patrol hours than any other agency on Lake St. Clair, making it one of the most active law enforcement marine divisions in the state.

“The Marine Division team plays a vital role in keeping our community safe and their facilities need to reflect that responsibility. The new building is equipped with the right tools and technology to ensure the sheriff’s office can do its job, which is to protect and serve the citizens of our region,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

“Bringing this headquarters project to life required a lot of collaboration across County government,” added Hackel. “I’d like to thank everyone involved, especially our Board of Commissioners and Chairman Don Brown. They saw the need for this facility and helped by approving the necessary funding.”

For those who plan on spending time on the water, Wickersham provides the following advice: “We really encourage all boaters to take a boating safety class. They are responsible for everyone on their boat and the boating public. Please be responsible and respect the lake.”


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