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Manistee police offer safe zone for item exchange

This week the Manistee Police Department implemented what they call a “Safe Exchange Zone.”

MANISTEE, Mi. (WPBN/WGTU) — Whether it’s meeting up with someone you purchased an item from online or exchanging children from one parent to another, law enforcement wants you to feel safe doing so.

This week the Manistee Police Department implemented what they call a “Safe Exchange Zone.”

It offers a specific location for people trading goods or switching children from one parent to another safely.

“Especially on the child custody issues the question comes up is 'where can I do this safely’,” Manistee Police Chief Tim Kozal said.

The Safe Exchange Zone is located in the Manistee Police Station parking lot, right behind Manistee City Hall.

Officers put several cameras there to monitor the location 24-7.

“You always have two parties involved and you’re going to have two different stories of might have occurred while now that it’s on video, we actually have something to fall back on,” Chief Kozal said. “But normally it helps prevent something that occurs because we do have it on video.”

Numerous other law enforcement agencies have similar exchange spots.

Other departments like Oceana County Sheriffs Office, Mason County Sheriff’s office, and the Michigan State Police have surveillance cameras in their parking lots and encourage people to use their safe locations as well.

“Hopefully it will give people an extra layer of security in their mind when they want to make those exchanges,” Kozal said.

Funding for this signage and cameras comes from police department’s budget through the Manistee general fund.

Law enforcement encourages you to always consider going to those places if you are making exchanges or purchases.

They also suggest getting to know the person you are selling to and asking questions prior to meeting up and to take someone with you.

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