SLT gets new deputy

Ottawa County Sheriff's Deputy Travis Babcock, the newest police officer covering Spring Lake Township, said he wants to provide proactive access to the community.
Becky Vargo
Jun 3, 2013


“If people are upset about people racing or blasting their stereos, I want to be that person that people come to,” he said.

The Spring Lake Township resident and lifelong Tri-Cities resident was sought out for the new position because he already has community policing experience and because he is already a Spring Lake Township firefighter, Sheriff Gary Rosema said.

“Travis has a tremendous amount of ownership in the township,” the county sheriff said. “He’s just a great fit there.”

Rosema said township officials have been talking with the Sheriff’s Department “for quite some time" about enhancing community policing.

The current township budget allocates $120,000 for the position and all costs associated with it, said Township Manager Gordon Gallagher. Those costs are wages, fringe benefits, uniforms, vehicle expenses, and supplies and training.

Babcock, who started the position April 29, is driving an SUV stocked with firefighting and medical first-responder equipment. He is training to become an emergency medical technician as well.

Gallagher said this is a combined position with the local Fire Department, so Babcock will operate as a firefighter anytime the Fire Department is dispatched.

Babcock, a 17-year veteran of the Sheriff's Department, is the second community policing officer operating in Spring Lake Township. Deputy Sarah Fillman also patrols the area in a shared position as the school officer with Spring Lake Public Schools, Gallagher said.



Good luck Travis ! They are lucky to have you :)


Hopefully this catches on in Grand Haven Twp and they can start eliminating a couple FT firefighter positions and fill them with deputy/paramedics.


This sounds great. I hope they will be able to use him to help solve the case of the senior prank at GHAPS High School. I am sure the administration there would like to crack the case. Please help give them a hand Travis.

By the way, congratulations and all the best Travis. You sound like a good guy and a great law enforcement officer.


“If people are upset about people racing or blasting their stereos, I want to be that person that people come to,” he said.

Really? How about attempting to strike fear into the hearts of real criminals and tackle serious crimes instead of dealing with nuisance complaints? I'm sure all the kids will live in fear of him while the home invaders, vandals, muggers, rapists and kidnappers run wild like cockroaches,laughing all the way home.


LTA, look up the definition of "Community policing". You will see that the intent here is a better quality of life for residents through enforcement of the little things like being woken up by someones car stereo and preventing vandalism. This does not mean ignore the rape, murder, and kidnapping, it is an additional effort on top of those duties. If done right it is supposed to deter the big crimes from happening there by showing that residents and police care enough to do something.


Guess I'm just being cynical. Can you explain to me how loud stereos and fast cars factor into all this gobbledigook Below? Are they going to be handing out "stay off my lawn" yard signs to the aggrieved citizens too?

Community policing is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime.

Community Policing is comprised of three key components:
•Community Partnerships
Collaborative partnerships between the law enforcement agency and the individuals and organizations they serve to develop solutions to problems and increase trust in police. ◦Other Government Agencies
◦Community Members/Groups
◦Nonprofits/Service Providers
◦Private Businesses

•Organizational Transformation
The alignment of organizational management, structure, personnel, and information systems to support community partnerships and proactive problem solving.

Agency Management◦Climate and culture
◦Labor relations
◦Strategic planning
◦Organizational evaluations
◦Organizational Structure
Geographic assignment of officers◦Despecialization
◦Resources and finances
Personnel◦Recruitment, hiring, and selection
◦Personnel supervision/evaluations
Information Systems (Technology)◦Communication/access to data
◦Quality and accuracy of data

•Problem Solving
The process of engaging in the proactive and systematic examination of identified problems to develop and rigorously evaluate effective responses.
◦Scanning: Identifying and prioritizing problems
◦Analysis: Researching what is known about the problem
◦Response: Developing solutions to bring about lasting reductions in the number and extent of problems
◦Assessment: Evaluating the success of the responses
◦Using the crime triangle to focus on immediate conditions (victim/offender/location)


I think it applies best to the problem solving section you printed. Deputy Babcock is quoted at the top of the page as saying he wants to be "proactive" and approachable so people can identify the problems they as residents see. I assume the examples he gave were generic common complaints and could have fireworks, underage drinking, parking complaints, or anything else someonecalls the police for substituted in there. But yeah, that's what I was talking about LTA. Thanks.


What if I invite all the neighbors and deputy Babcock to my party with the stereo cranked? Who will complain about that? Of course the sherriffs department doesn't think its a big deal that my neighbors fire off a couple hundred rounds of ammo on a Sunday afternoon. I suppose stereos and hot rodding are more of a nuisance. LOL

Anyway, best regards deputy and I hope you and the township benefit from this alliance. hint.... Hot rodding on M-104 is common all summer long. ;)


Half of Spring Lake Township is the City of Ferrysburg and Village of Spring Lake with their own police department. Currently 4 deputies work out of the township substation and are assigned to Spring Lake, Crockery and half of Polkton Townships. There is already one full-time deputy assigned just to Spring Lake Township.
Why was the township board convinced there was a real need to add one more deputy to Spring Lake Township?
So lets count the cops working in Spring Lake township during the day: Spring Lake Village: One chief, one detective, two patrolman, that's four in the village. Spring Lake Township: One regular deputy, two township deputies, thats three in the township during the day. Total working Spring Lake Township: 7! Not counting the State Police. (don't forget them)
Ask yourself, do we really need 7 police people working at the same time? They must be running into each other. Yes, the village police are supposed to stay in the village. But in an emergency, guess what; all 7 will be there, including the fire department. Who is paying for all this overkill? Called-for services do not justify this many personnel. The township board has lots of questions to answer.


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