Posted on 05 December 2014.
Sgt. Jason Kelley, supervisor of the Cedar Springs unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department.
By Judy Reed
It’s been almost one month since the Kent County Sheriff Department took over law enforcement in Cedar Springs. Overseeing that change is Sgt. Jason Kelley, supervisor of the Cedar Springs unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department.
“The transition is going great,” said Kelley. “Things are running pretty smoothly. I like the challenge. Everyone here has been helpful. I’m enjoying it.”
What people may not be aware of, is that Kelley is no stranger to Cedar Springs. In fact, he said he lives close by, and knows the community well. He already knew the officers here because he has worked them on various cases, and is also familiar with the area because of patrolling out of the north substation.
Kelley grew up in Benzie County and graduated from Benzie Central High School. After graduation he joined the Navy and served on active duty for six years, and earned his degree in Criminal Justice. After leaving the Navy, he attended the Police Academy in Traverse City, and then served with the Benzie County Sheriff Department for two years, from 2000-2002. He was with Rogers City Police Department from 2002-2003, and was hired by the Kent County Sheriff Department in January of 2003.
While at the KCSD, he has worked road patrol out of the Central, North and South substations, had several assignments with the detective bureau including the burglary and theft unit, and served on the major case team. He has most recently been a road patrol day shift supervisor, and road patrol night shift supervisor for the Central/North sector.
The four full time Cedar Springs officers that are now working for the Kent County Sheriff Department are in field training with other KCSD officers. Kelley said that Deputy Ed Good decided that he wanted something other than road patrol and is now in court security. “The other three officers (Chad Potts, Mike Stahl, and Chad Tucker) are doing an excellent job, and were moved up a phase early. They were accelerated into phase 2 of the training,” noted Kelley.
During the training, the officers are doing the police work, and the other officer is a passenger—a trainer that can coach the officer on how they do certain things at KCSD, what paperwork to fill out, etc. The officers train both here and at other spots in the county, depending on what’s being taught. For instance, Deputy Mike Stahl was doing a death investigation in another part of the county. “They are getting the different types of training that will benefit them—experience and knowledge they can bring back here,” explained Kelley.
Cedar Springs City Manager Thad Taylor also likes what he sees. “I think it’s going famously,” he said. “It’s going as smooth as it can be, given they’ve never done this before.”
Both Kelley and Taylor said that people have remarked that there seems to be more police officers in town—and they are right. Cedar Springs is in a central part of the north sector, and some of the deputies on patrol will stop in at Cedar Springs to fill out reports, instead of pulling off the road or traveling to the north substation near Kent City. “The community is getting more than they bargained for,” remarked Taylor. “There have been no negatives.”
Kelley said he has received positive feedback from people in the community. “People in the community have said they are impressed with what they’ve seen,” he explained.
The city still has constant coverage, with deputies patrolling in 12-hour shifts. Residents may see an unfamiliar face on patrol when deputies fill in for officers training elsewhere. Kelley hopes residents will be patient with them as they learn the city’s ordinances. “We have the best interests of the community and the city moving forward,” he said.