“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.