Going after the bad guys in Torch Lake Township

Posted on April 21, 2010


I was headed to breakfast at Friske’s with Katy Newman when I came to a screeching halt, made a U-turn, and pulled up at the old Township Hall. What the heck? The parking was a staging area for quantities of Serious Law Enforcement.

OK, fairly relaxed Law Enforcement.  I found Sgt. Travis Chellis of the Antrim County Sheriff’s Department, who was in charge.  It turns out that a dozen northern Michigan agencies* were engaged in a monthly training exercise. This month’s assignment: Secure the perimeter around a building where bad guys are holed up, extract said bad guys, and make sure none of ’em are still hiding in the building. 

The former Township ambulance barn was playing the role of The Building. Katy and I offered to play Hostages, but our offer was declined politely. Instead we went and had a very good breakfast. An hour and a half later I headed back to the Writing Studio and Bait Shop and found the training exercise still going on. The least I could do was to take more pictures.

It was sort of like watching a movie being filmed. Spurts of action interspersed with long periods of, well, boredom. I have a high tolerance for boredom. I just let my mind wander. Fortunately, I was hunkered down behind a planter full of pinecones and dry needles and tiny white pine seedlings.

Then it was time for lunch, and the trainees headed off to the Eastport Market for fried chicken and potato salad. I spend quite enough time there as it is, so I went home to write the post that fell in my lap.

It’s good to practice for worst-case scenarios. It’s astonishing to see how much firepower can be brought to bear in a little township like this, should an actual worst case ever arise. And it’s sobering to see what we think we need to defend ourselves against . . . us.

(*Teams came from County Sheriffs Departments in Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, Kalkaska, Otsego, Presque Isle Crawford, Alcona and Alpena, plus the Police Departments in Petoskey and Boyne City.)