2012-05-31 / Editorial

‘Huge relief’

Our Opinion

The news that escaped inmate Everett Robinson was apprehended Monday morning came as a relief to area residents and visitors.

Robinson’s nearly weeklong run from law enforcement put many lives at risk and created a panic for many. Residents within the search zone were on high alert and at times not allowed in their homes. Road closures forced motorists to drive far out of their way. There is no way to express the mix of fear and inconvenience Robinson caused this area. In fact, nearly 40% of 146 respondents in the Resorter’s Reader Poll last week answered “yes” to the question, “Has the search for escaped inmate Everett Robinson impacted your daily routine?” Houghton Lake Community Schools were forced to go on lock down and cancel after school events -- including events for which young students had worked long and hard to prepare -- and Houghton Lake Little League games were not played.

As the search continued, people throughout the area -- and likely beyond -- were glued to computer screens and speakers as they read updates of the manhunt and listened to scanner feeds from search teams. It became what seemed like the sole topic of discussion in the area. “Have they caught him?” was heard countless times.

The response of law enforcement from throughout the area was swift and strong. By the afternoon of May 21, hundreds of officers were on scene searching the dense woods looking for Robinson. Search efforts continued tirelessly for nearly a week -- Robinson was caught just about four hours short of being on the run for seven days. The terrain in the search area is some of the harshest in Roscommon County with swamps, thick forests and countless places for Robinson to hide.

In the end, Robinson was caught in an elevated hunting blind roughly four miles from where he escaped.

“He was arrested without incident. He did not put up a fight,” said Michigan State Police Capt. Robert Lesneski, commander of the 7th District. “It’s a huge relief. You think about all these terrible scenarios that could’ve happened, especially on a holiday weekend.”

The dangerous situation with which Robinson put the officers and emergency workers in is what is so egregious in this case. Not only was the fact Robinson was armed a concern, but other dangers were also present in the search. It is a blessing no one was injured in the search.

Robinson should receive the maximum penalty for the charges he faces. He had no regard for the safety of law enforcement officers or the people he terrorized for nearly seven days and for that he should face full retribution.

Law enforcement officers from the Michigan State Police, Roscommon County Office of the Sheriff, Michigan Department of Conservation Officers, Richfield, Gerrish and Denton Township Police Departments and other agencies should be commended for their work. Their training and expertise prevented a serious situation from becoming deadly.

Aprile Bohm, who came face-to-face with Robinson three days into the search when he tried to enter her home, said she thinks law enforcement agencies did “an absolutely wonderful job.”

“I couldn’t ask for a better group to be protected by,” she said.

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