When asked about shooting complaints in Sumpter Township, Sumpter Police Chief Eric Luke sent the following comment, following his first comment that said they had no calls on these complaints:
I was finally able to speak with the gentlemen this morning when he called me in regards to a card I left in his door yesterday. He says that the first, and only time the shooting occurred is during a period last fall although he assumes that it will start back up this fall, also. He did not call when it was occurring last year. Actually, a CAD search from Sept. 1 – Nov. 31 of last year shows that we had no calls regarding any shooting complaints on Judd Rd. during that period.
He said he briefly spoke to an unknown Sumpter officer at the party store this spring about the issue and from what he says I believe he misunderstood what the officer was trying to tell him. I gave him the rundown about the ordinance issues that I explained to you in my first email and told him I’d personally call him for any public meetings about a new ordinance so he could give input.
In Chief Luke’s first email he stated:
It is true, however, that we have suspended enforcement of the 1984 local ordinance that had been used as a prohibition to firearm target practice. This was done after I was approached about the ordinance by a citizen who had several concerns about its actual focus. After researching his points the decision was made to stop enforcement until such time as the ordinance could be amended or a new ordinance enacted. The old ordinance wording is too vague in itself and once you look into the state law it references I think you’ll see our concern.
When we get a call now, I’ve instructed officers to deal with any unsafe situations if observed (obviously), notify the shooting party about the complaint, and try to resolve it with common sense in terms of when and how long the shooting takes place. If the situation continues to be problematic for the complainant they should be given the opportunity of filing a disturbing the peace complaint.
The Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office has, of course, never played a role in the local ordinance process so I can’t comment on why (if) that was said to the complainant or if it was simply a miscommunication on our part. State law does not deal with the actual act of simply target practicing.
I believe we are close to public discussion on an amended ordinance. I would be surprised however if the consensus of the citizenry was an all-out ban on target practicing. A blend of common sense rules focused on safety and noise abatement issues, while still allowing the actual act is more realistic, in my opinion.
Sumpter Township Ordinance: https://library.municode.com/mi/sumpter_township,_(wayne_co.)/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_CH14OF_ARTVIIOFAGPUSA_DIV2WE_S14-268INDIFILO
State Law Reference: http://legislature.mi.gov/doc.aspx?mcl-750-234