Police & Parking Enforcement

Greetings from the Houghton Police Department. The City of Houghton, with a population of 8,300, is located in the center of the Keweenaw in Michigan’s beautiful Upper Peninsula. The Houghton Police Department currently maintains a staff of 9 full time officers and some part time officers. It is our goal to maintain a close partnership with the City Council and close relationships with our citizens in an effort to provide a safe environment for all.

Residents of the City who will not be home for a few days or a few months and would like the police department to perform a security check can fill out the following form and return it to the police department. Residential Security Check Request (PDF)

John Donnelly
Chief of Police

Houghton PD Staff

John Donnelly
Chief of Police

Nick Roberts

Jeremy Hill

Jason Tormala

Five Patrol Officers


Houghton City Police
City Center
616 Shelden Avenue
Houghton, MI 49931

Phone: 906-487-5912
FAX: 906.482.0353


Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

If you would like routine documents from the police department, the FOIA request form (link below) for the Police Department can be submitted to:

Police Department
PO Box 606
Houghton, MI 49931

Fax: 906-482-0353

FOIA Police Form (PDF)

Questions & Info

Answer: Passengers on school buses are exempt from seat belt requirements. (MCL 257.710e)

School buses provide one of the safest forms of transportation because of their design and construction. School buses utilize compartmentalization in rows of heavily padded, high-back seats. During crashes, seat belts would negate compartmentalization. It is also feared that some students would receive internal injuries from seat belts through a process called submarining, the tendency for a body to slide downwards during impact.

Seat belts on school buses may also hamper rescue or evacuation efforts, as adults or older students may have to spend precious minutes unbuckling young or disoriented passengers. Unruly students could also use the heavy buckles as makeshift weapons, creating even more of a safety hazard. There is also the argument that seat belts would only protect passengers of school buses during unusual events such as roll-overs, but not other possible events such as fires or submersion.

For more information about school bus safety, visit the Michigan Department of Education Web site.

  • Follow these pedestrian safety tips when walking near traffic.
  • Use sidewalks whenever possible.
  • Cross streets at a corner.
  • Always stop at the edge of a parked car, curb, or vehicle before walking out into traffic.
  • Look left-right-left again before crossing a street.
  • Make eye contact with the drivers prior to crossing in front of them.
  • Never cross mid block.
  • If you must walk along the roadway, walk facing traffic as far to the left as posible.
  • Wear reflective clothing and carry a flashlight when walking at night or ealy morning hours.
  • Never allow children under 10 to cross streets alone.
  • Older adults need to allow for enough time to safely cross the street.
  • When a pedestrian is struck by a vehicle, over 80% of the time the pedestrian is killed or seriously injured. By following these safety tips, you can help prevent serious injury or death.

Question: Can a person ride in the back of a pickup truck?

Answer: It is unlawful for any person under the age of 18 to ride in the open bed of a pickup at a speed greater than 15 miles per hour on a public roadway. MCL 257.682b covers this in detail.

Question: Can I have tinted windows on my vehicle?

Answer: The law that covers window applications is MCL 257.709 . The use of tinting is limited to the rear side windows, the rear window if the vehicle has outside mirrors on both sides, and the top 4 inches of the front side windows. There is a limited exception for medical necessity with a doctor’s prescription, which allows for tinting to be applied to the front side windows as well. Michigan does not have a specification for the darkness of the window application, but does prohibit applications with a solar reflectivity greater than 35%.

Answer: MCL 257.612 (1)(c)(ii) states in part, “Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal, after stopping before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or at a limit line when marked or, if there is no crosswalk or limit line, before entering the intersection, may make a left turn from a 1-way or 2-way street into a 1-way roadway carrying traffic in the direction of the left turn unless prohibited by sign, signal, marking, light, or other traffic control device.

The same rules apply to turning right on a steady red signal. Unless prohibited, a right turn on a steady red signal may be made from a 1-way or 2-way street onto a 2-way street or a 1-way street carrying traffic in the direction of the right turn.

Answer: That depends. When preparing for a left turn a driver can travel a “reasonable” distance in the center turn lane.

It is unlawful to use the center left turn lane for a right turn or as a merge lane when entering the roadway.

Level 1 and Level 2 License holders under the Graduated Driver Licensing program are prohibited from using a cell phone while driving.

Violations will be a civil infraction and fees associated with the original ticket may be up to $240. No points will be assessed.

Exemptions are:

  • Reporting a traffic crash, medical emergency, or serious road hazard
  • Reporting a situation if the person believes his or her personal safety is in jeopardy
  • Reporting or averting the perpetration or potential perpetration of a criminal act
  • Using a voice-operated system integrated into the vehicle

This department adheres to the policy of investigating all allegations of misconduct or complaints regarding staff or procedures of the department. The goal of the department is to ensure fairness and justice by intensive impartial investigation and review. Unless the complaint and allegation are of such magnitude that it requires additional time for review, all complaints will be resolved as soon as practicable. Citizen Complaint Form


Shelden Avenue (US-41 downtown) provides two hour free parking. Parking lot locations are shown on informational kiosks and wayfinding maps throughout downtown. 

Side streets and parking decks provide two hours of free parking as well as permit parking. The City of Houghton asks that people working downtown park in permit parking areas to keep adequate customer and visitor parking on Shelden Avenue available. 

Downtown Houghton has several options for parking for customers and visitors. Most lots and above/below the parking decks offer free 2-hour parking unless signed otherwise. Along the waterfront there are several locations to park, including large vehicle/trailer parking under the lift bridge just a few steps from downtown.

A downtown parking map will be available soon.


Parking between the hours of 2:00 am and 7:00 am is prohibited on all city streets between November 1st and April 30th every year.  This is done to keep the streets clear for the plow trucks to move the snow.  

On Shelden Avenue, parking is prohibited between the hours of 2:00 am and 7:00 am all year.

Parking Permits

The Houghton Police Department issues parking passes for several lots downtown. Fees vary by the lot location and length of permit. Any questions about long-term parking can be answered by calling the office at 906-482-2121. 

Police car in front of city offices