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Health director says she is not surprised with recent threat of West Michigan health department

Rachel Kramer -

Ingham County’s top health official says she's not surprised by a threat recently reported against the director of a West Michigan health department.

According to a report from Michigan Advance, Kent County Health Department Director Adam London sent an email to Kent County Commissioners last month asking for help after his car was nearly forced off the road. The incident happened shortly after issuing a mask mandate for schoolchildren.

Ingham County health officer Linda Vail says most health department leaders in the state have received threats.

Vail says she notifies her board chair when there’s a threat that she finds unsettling. “If they rattled me enough to think that I needed more protection or needed to engage law enforcement,” Vail states, “then I would be engaging the prosecutor’s office, the sheriff’s department, whatever I needed to do.”

Vail adds that she had a security system installed at her house, something she thinks most of her colleagues have done. “Some have had to go further than that and get some protection for a period of time,” she concludes. “I know that the Ottawa County health officer had some security protection for a while in the face of the immediate threats that come over. They tend to get very escalated at the beginning and then kind of settle in a little bit.”

Vail says in her case, the Ingham County sheriff’s department once asked local police to watch her house after she’d received a threat.