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Published: Friday, 7/7/2006

Marine grant given to Hillsdale County

HILLSDALE, Mich. -The Hillsdale County sheriff's Marine Patrol Program has received a $15,800 equipment grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

The grant is part of special funding approved by the federal government to supplement purchases for local water enforcement agencies.

The marine program used the grant to purchase a 1998 Larsen Fiberglass boat to replace its now-outdated Boston Whaler, purchased in 1985. The new boat is retrofitted with lights, siren, public address system, and radio communications.

The program also recently received two new Jet Skis for enforcement purposes from Planet Power Sports in Branch County at no cost.

The Michigan DNR reimburses all county marine patrol divisions for 75 percent of their expenses.

For the 2006 fiscal year, Hillsdale County's Marine Patrol Program has a proposed budget of $29,100, according to Jeremiah Hodshire, the undersheriff for Hillsdale County.

So this year, on top of the $15,800 grant, the state will also reimburse the county $21,825 for waterway enforcement expenditures.

The sheriff's office has four part-time marine patrol officers and one part-time marine patrol sergeant. It trains more than 400 students through free boating safety classes offered each spring.

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