Police give data on stalking, harassment

ESCANABA — Local law enforcement agencies have provided data showing just how often officers are called to stalking and harassment complaints.

According to Delta County Sheriff Ed Oswald, his department receives harassment complaints on a regular basis.

“However, any type of harassment is very subjective and falls under the stalking laws and or the person may have enough evidence or basis to ask the court for a PPO,” he said.

Oswald explained harassment calls could range from a neighbor harassing another by blowing snow on their yard or through the use of social media.

Within the course of last year, the Delta County Sheriff’s Office had two stalking cases.

Escanaba Public Safety Director Rob LaMarche said EPSD handled 43 stalking complaints and 32 harassment complaints in 2019.

He explained the numbers don’t necessarily mean all of the complaints were officially charged as stalking and that it’s just a classification used depending on circumstances.

Gladstone Public Safety Det/Sgt. Aaron Quinlan said the department had handled 22 complaints involving harassment or stalking last year.

Quinlan noted the majority of the cases occurred through text messages or social media platforms, and the majority of complaints were resolved once officers made contact with the offender.

Schoolcraft County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Dianna Herlik aid there were no stalking or harassment complaints handled by that department last year.

In Manistique, there were no cases involving stalking, but two cases of harassment that were sent to the prosecutor’s office in 2019, according to Manistique Public Safety Director Ken Golat.

He explained the numbers relating to complaints of harassment are far too many to count.

Golat said the harassment complaints are usually minor and non-criminal in nature, but officers make contact with the individuals involved to prevent it from becoming more serious.