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If you’re violating the law, stay out of Portage

Written by Nicholas Serrano. Posted in Community News

Published on August 18, 2011 with No Comments

Portage Police Chief Mark Becker told of several procedures that the department has implemented to help keep crime down in the city of Portage as he spoke to the Portage Exchange Club at its Aug. 10 breakfast meeting.

There has been an increase in “police presence” with over 7,000 traffic stops made between January and June of 2011.

“I encourage my officers to make the stops for any type of violation, not necessarily to give a ticket but just to let people know we are out there watching. Because of this increased awareness, the cases our detectives have to cover are way down. If criminal elements know that the police in Portage are out there and will stop them for minor infractions, they’ll take their ‘business’ elsewhere to a less-vigilant community,” Becker said.

“We continue to be very aggressive on shoplifting. We arrest shoplifters and put them in jail. Some communities have gone to issuing tickets for shoplifting. This is not much of a deterrent.

“One of the most positive programs in place is our teen defensive driving program ‘Arrive Alive.’

“We’re the only department in the area to offer this in conjunction with Portage High School. It costs $85 per student and they spend one hour in a classroom watching a PowerPoint presentation and four hours in a car on the course. They get it up to a certain speed and are then told ‘Stop!’

“Some of them never realized that when you’re going 60 miles an hour it’s going to take you quite a distance to come to a complete stop once you step on that brake. Would you rather have your child experience his or her first spin-out on I-65 or within the safety of a controlled environment?

“It’s a great course that gives us a lot of positive interaction with our youth. We’ve worked with 150 kids so far and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. At the end of the course, they get a T-shirt with the sponsors names printed on the back.

“We are in the process of finding sponsors right now. Anyone who would like to be a sponsor for $150 can call or e-mail the department.”

Becker also warned the club members of a growing problem with heroin in Porter County.

“We have to be proactive in this. The drugs are out there, and they are killing people.”

You can contact Becker at 762-3122 or at mbecker@portage-in.com.

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