Lakeside Motor Sports lends jet skis to Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office

COVERAGE: Lakeside Motor Sports, of Mecosta, donated two jet skis to be used for the summer by the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office. (Pioneer file Photo)

COVERAGE: Lakeside Motor Sports, of Mecosta, donated two jet skis to be used for the summer by the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office. (Pioneer file Photo)

MECOSTA — Each summer the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol takes to the area’s numerous waterways, utilizing equipment owned by the department as well as some on loan from a local business.

For 15 years, Lakeside Motor Sports in Mecosta has provided jet skis to the sheriff’s office to use while patrolling lakes and rivers in the county. Aside from paying for fuel, the sheriff’s office does not spend any money to be able to have the jet skis for the summer, said Deputy Trent Livermore, who heads the marine division.

“It’s completely cost free to us,” Livermore said. “These are great tools for us to have on the many bodies of water throughout Mecosta County.”

Being able to use the jet skis helps cut down on wear and tear of the department’s three boats, Livermore explained. Plus, it’s easier to put the jet skis on smaller lakes, he added.

“Our boats are running six hours a day for three days each week,” Livermore said. “The ability to use the jet skis cuts down on that.”

It’s also a bonus to be able to split up officers on large bodies of water so there is more coverage, Livermore said.

“Whenever there is a big event, I don’t care if it’s on the water or something like the Mecosta County Fair or Wheatland Music Festival, officer presence makes a huge difference,” Livermore said. “When boaters see us on the water, they tend to cut back on drinking, reduce their speed and are less reckless.”

The jet skis are a great tool during major summer holidays, such as the Fourth of July and Labor Day, and busy boating weekends like Hot Boat weekend near Hardy Dam, he said. In September, the jet skis are returned to Lakeside Motor Sports.

Along with Mecosta County, Montcalm and Isabella counties also receiver loaner jet skis, said Ed Richter, owner and general manager at Lakeside Motor Sports.

“We think it’s a great program and is beneficial to the communities,” Richter said. “We believe in promoting safety on the lakes. Our waterways need patrol and this helps officers.”

In 2015, the marine patrol logged more than 1,400 hours on the water. While officers made 1,427 stops throughout the season, only 44 citations were written, Livermore said.

“We’re not out there to ruin anybody’s weekend,” he said. “We just want to make sure people are being safe while having a good time.”

Anyone interested in learning more about boater safety can attend an upcoming boater safety class provided for free by the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office. The class will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 14, at Paris Park. Anyone interested in registering can contact Livermore at (231) 592-0150.

Livermore is grateful Lakeside Motor Sports has continued to support the marine patrol.

“We’re just thankful they help us out each year,” he said. “They’ve been great at helping take care of the marine division. They’ve also previously donated life jackets for our officers. We really appreciate them.”

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Posted by Emily Grove

Emily is the Pioneer and Herald Review crime and court reporter, covering crime in both Mecosta and Osceola counties. She can be reached by e-mail at emily@pioneergroup.com or by phone at (231) 592-8362.

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