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Posted on Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

Off-duty officer follows hit & run driver to home - and $8K marijuana bust

By Paula Gardner

A fender-bender in Pittsfield Township on Saturday turned into a marijuana bust a short time later after an off-duty police officer followed the hit & run driver to his home.


Commander Dieter Heren of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department.


The situation began at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday when a 29-year-old township resident was in a minor traffic collision near Michigan Avenue and Platt Road.

That driver left the scene of the crash, heading westbound on Michigan Avenue.

As dispatchers broadcast reports from other drivers at the scene about the driver leaving, Commander Dieter Heren of the Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department heard the information.

"(The driver) didn't stick around," said Deputy Chief Gordy Schick of Pittsfield. Within moments, "Heren observed the vehicle passing him."

Heren followed the vehicle to Saline Meadows manufactured home community, where he identified himself as police and detained him, Schick said.

When Pittsfield officers arrived, police learned the man was an unlicensed driver - and, after further questioning, they searched his home.

That search led to the seizure of about $2,000 in cash, Schick said, along with five pounds of marijuana the police believe was going to be distributed.

"It was packaged," Schick said. "... It looks like he was a mid-size dealer."

The estimated street value of the haul was $8,000, he added.

The Michigan State Police crime lab needs to confirm that the substance was marijuana before formal charges on possession with intent to deliver will be filed. Schick said.

Information on the original crash wasn't available Sunday, but Schick said it was minor enough that the other driver was neither injured nor filing a police report.

Paula Gardner is News Director of She can be reached by email or followed on Twitter.



Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 4:49 p.m.

"That search led to the seizure of about $2,000 in cash, Schick said, along with five pounds of marijuana the police believe was going to be distributed " Now have it ( the marijuana ) distributed free to Licensed Marijuana Care Giver facility's .


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 4:22 p.m.

Why do you think that they call it dope?? The stuff will make ya stupid. Great job, Commander Heren!

Holy Cow

Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 2:40 a.m.

I think this is an interesting story and it puts a positive light on police officers - something that they greatly deserve and don't get nearly enough of. The fact that it has generated 60 comments so far goes to show that other people have found it newsworthy as well.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 4:15 p.m.

Nice Job Cmdr. Heron!


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

Nice job Commander! the more marijuana we get off the streets the better............


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

Indeed. Marijuana should be sold by legal retailers rather than remaining on the black market sold by sketchy individuals. It's clear that the illegality of marijuana is the most dangerous thing about it, not to mention the pointless, endless money spent on pot busts and prosecutions. Its illegality is precisely a hit-and-run driver would try to sell it and maintain or augment his finances rather than working more at a real job (if any in the first place). Its illegality empowers exactly the people whom you don't want to empower. Legalize it, remove losers' leverage, stop government spending on this nonsense, and that's how "the streets" will really be better.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 2:50 p.m.

Just pointing out that on my screen the top story is about how Ann Arbor is so happy that they are selling more Liquor and Booze and are glad that they have an additional seven outlets for alcohol consumption.... and the bottom story is about some kid busted for pot.

Elaine F. Owsley

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

That's the kind of heads up policing we like to see. Great job. And all you nit-pickers - simmer down. It must be horrible never being able to see the good in life.

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 1:56 a.m.

Top cop in my book! Thank you Commander Dieter Heren!


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 12:03 a.m.

Stoners never stop. They also usually space out on renewing their license, so this story is not surprising.....dude....


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 11:52 p.m.

I see you fixed up the original picture. I'm sure the other person in it originally thanks you. I thank you, anyway!

Homeland Conspiracy

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 11:22 p.m.

"I could of smoked that pot" Homer Simpson

roll tide

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 11:06 p.m.

Isn't this the sheriff's employee who was investigated? <a href=""></a>

roll tide

Sat, Feb 25, 2012 : 4:51 a.m.

take depositions regarding this investigation including depositions of Undersheriff Ptaszek, Commander Dieter Herren, Brian Miller and/or any others involved in the investigation into this incident.


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 12:21 a.m.

I didn't see his name listed in the link provided at all.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 4:03 a.m.

And your point is?

roll tide

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

<a href=""></a> Read the court filings: MOTION BY KUHN.pdf RESPONSE TO MOTION.pdf


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 1:59 a.m.

Maybe I am missing something, there is no reference to Commander Heron in the entire article. Not sure why you felt the need to sully a feel-good story with an unsubstantiated reference to wrong doing.


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 10:59 p.m.

Social network patrol &amp; reporting. It's coming. Good.

Lake Trout

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 10:21 p.m.

Thank you Commander Heren. Not enough people - law enforcment or citizen - take time to involve themselves in a situation that might not be comfortable, but is the right thing to do. Keep up the good work!


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 9:40 p.m.

He was using his sixth, maybe even seventh sense


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 8:57 p.m.

The Michigan State Police crime lab needs to confirm that the substance was marijuana before formal charges on possession with intent to deliver will be filed. Schick said. Take it to the crime lab? Really? I think the local high school has enough experts to not only provide a positive ID, but they could probably identify the country of origin.


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

uhm, most of the weed now comes from the U.S. At least the good stuff. All you get from Mexico is dirtweed. The one &amp; only positive side of the drug war is that it encouraged a domestic manufacturing base. Never did stop the weed from being distributed or consumed. It's just an easy bust for the system.


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 8:43 p.m.

Super Great Job off the job Commander Heren and Pittsfield Officers!! It's never a slow day in Washtenaw County, and this IS news. Face it folks, this suspect is up to (no good) and I am glad he was caught.


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 8:35 p.m.

And I thought only tornadoes and Harley Davidson motorcycles frequented mobile home parks


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

And drugs


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 8:34 p.m.

I thought this might be useful info based on some of the comments here. I am not sure what things are like at the department now, however, I can say what they used to be like. When I was working with the WCSD (until the late 90's), it was not uncommon for deputies to spend their own money to have radios installed in their POV's (private owned vehicles) to monitor what was happening in the county. They considered themselves law enforcement officers. This was the job day or night, NOT just while on duty. As most all deputies carry their weapons 24/7 they want to be ready and able to help. Commander Heron did a great job watching for this guy. If he has a radio in his POV I am certain his family understands why and that he would never attempt an off duty stop if it would put his family in danger. Great job commander!

Snarf Oscar Boondoggle

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 11:33 p.m.

ummm ... &quot; ... it was not uncommon for deputies to spend their own money to have radios installed in their POV's (private owned vehicles) to monitor what was happening in the county.&quot; home (non-mobile) monitoring is legal ... i -thought- ina-car (mobile) was ILlegal? correct me if i';m wroing, pls.


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 8:25 p.m.

Pot heads would get a lot more sympathy if they weren't so stupid.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

Religion is a drug for selfish drug addicts who think they &quot;don't have a problem,&quot; actually. Pot, on the other hand, is demonstrably less harmful than alcohol, not to mention less impairing. There's no rational justification for your claims (or others' comments on that aspect of this article which are clearly quite ignorant of the facts about marijuana).

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 1:57 a.m.

Pot is a drug for selfish drug addicts that think they 'don't have a problem.' Try flying straight for a change?


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 11 p.m.

... cause they're potheads (self fulfilling prophecy)

Mr. Ed

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 8:18 p.m.

A couple of corrections. The Sheriff's Office is not a &quot;department.&quot; The Sheriff is elected. He's a deputy Sheriff not a &quot;police officer.&quot; But good job to the Sheriff deputy for his work. If he's off duty do we have to pay him overtime?

Just Sayin

Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 12:39 a.m.

He is a Law Enforcement Officer.


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 9:25 p.m.

No he is Commander. Better get it right man. This is a serious law and order type dude!

Linda Peck

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 7:30 p.m.

Thank you, Officer Heren!


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 6:43 p.m.

Wow- you guys are criticizing the young man who followed a hit and run driver so the un-liscenced driver was caught? seriously? Wow. I hope if I ever get hit, even in this no fault state we live In where I've never hit anyone or caused an accident, and the person who hit me leaves, this off duty officer is around. I would hope the other driver would get a ticket or something! Knowing that the officer cared enough to take the time during his TIME OFF to still care is lovely to me. Thank you, sir.


Tue, Feb 21, 2012 : 12:12 a.m.

I don't see where you read that as critisizing the commander.


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 2:20 a.m.

Only one comment above comments on the officer having a radio with him even while off duty. The other comments pertain to the other officers who possibly did a warrantless search of the house, which is illegal to do w/out cause. That's not a reflection on the officer who initially followed.


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

So the cop is off duty but heard dispatch radio traffic. He has a cop radio with him at all times? Wife and kids must love that. Maybe next time he could make another major bust like catching the rabid skunks on ann arbor's west side! As for the pot head. Get in a minor fender bender and flee and go straight to your stash? #mensa


Mon, Feb 20, 2012 : 2:59 p.m.

He is a comes with the territory.


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 6:25 p.m.

Was the homeowner stupid enough to give permission for them to search without a warrant or did the police have cause-they heard screaming, there was a fire, etc. to enter-or did they do a warrantless search that, while it caught a drug dealer, will not allow a drug charge to possibly hold up in court?

Lake Trout

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 10:28 p.m.

People are stupid and this one evidently was to the max...


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

&quot;When Pittsfield officers arrived, police learned the man was an unlicensed driver - and, after further questioning, they searched his home.&quot; Not defending the person detained, but did they need a search warrant to search is home? Just curious.

Chaz H

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

Oops. Wrong thread, sorry.

Chaz H

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 9:06 p.m.

I would like to know which one of these rules I have violated by saying I prefer non-homophobic charities: - Off-topic comments - Personal attacks against private individuals - Insensitivity to victims of accidents or crimes - Presuming guilt on the part of persons accused of crimes* - Using tragedies to make a political point - Posting personal information about individuals - Racist, sexist and offensive language, including abbreviated or masked swearing - Posting in all capital letters, which is viewed as shouting - Breaking copyright law - Commercial postings and press releases. Non-commercial postings can be entered on the Community Wall.

Chaz H

Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 7:53 p.m.

@acbgoblue: Where is the &quot;race-baiting&quot; in his question? I think Vette is correct about the probable cause, but I am not a lawyer, so I do not know for sure. I am not sure how you are reading anything race related into the justcurious's question. Care to explain?


Sun, Feb 19, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

I would think the further questioning part was them either asking for permission to search and being granted that permission or there were drugs and/or parafanalia present in plain sight which gives them probable cause to search without a warrant.