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Tag Archive | "cedar springs police department"

Goodbye Sgt. Kelley


Sgt. Jason Kelley, formerly supervisor of the Cedar Springs unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department, has taken on a new position in the investigative division. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

When the Cedar Springs Police Department dissolved in 2014, and the Kent County Sheriff Department took over policing for the City of Cedar Springs in a unique partnership, many residents weren’t sure how smooth the transition would be, or what to expect. But there was one person working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure it was everything residents expected and more—Sgt. Jason Kelley. 

Kelley has been in charge of the new Cedar Springs unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department for the last 3-1/2 years. As of this week, he took on a new assignment as Detective Sergeant with the investigative division. 

“We are both excited for and saddened by Sergeant Kelley’s promotion and departure from Cedar Springs,” said City Manager Mike Womack. “He has been a valuable asset to the community and he will be missed but we do wish him the best in his new position with the major cases unit.”

“I’ve really enjoyed working with the community, and being part of a smaller community,” remarked Kelley. “The residents have been great to work with on problem solving and any community policing efforts we’ve tried.”

As far as accomplishments, he said he feels that he and the deputies have forged a good relationship between the Sheriff Dept. and the citizens of Cedar Springs. “We have a highly visible patrol, and we’ve made contact with community members that we might not have if we had not been as visible,” he said.

Another accomplishment he’s been happy with is that of the placement of a school resource officer at Cedar Springs Public Schools. “That has been a great success,” noted Kelley.

He also feels that they have made a lot of headway into arresting and convicting those using and manufacturing narcotics. “There have been at least four or more meth labs busted. And our vice teams have cooperated so much with us here in Cedar Springs in helping us get if off the street.”

What does he think was his best accomplishment? “Somehow I’ve been able to get great deputies,” he remarked. “All who have worked here have wanted to work here. They need to be great deputies for it to work.”

The original Cedar Springs officers that trained to be Sheriff Deputies have moved on to other sectors in the county, according to Kelley, and it was their own choice. There have also been other deputies who have served here since the transition that had ties to Cedar Springs such as Deputies Jason VanDyke, Todd Frank, and Mike Tanis. Tanis is now a detective at the north substation.

Kelley said that of all the cases he’s been involved with here, one of the most memorable was the vandalism, theft, and recovery of the Timothy Brown monument. “It may not be the most significant, but it is probably the nearest and dearest to my heart because of the family and community emotions tied to it, and my ties to the veteran community,” he explained.

Kelley said one of the most important things he’s learned from his assignment here is how important it is to have buy in and cooperation from the community. “We can’t do our job without community involvement. We know that already, but when you are closer to the community, you realize that even more so.” He said the Timothy Brown monument case was a good example of that. “When we put the word out, and you publish things in the paper that we are looking for someone, people give us tips. We get that community involvement.” He added that once they give the tip, it’s also important that community members will feel safe and confident that the officers will do their job. “Citizens really play a key role in law enforcement,” he said. 

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 200-2002. 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 was also a road patrol day shift supervisor, and road patrol night shift supervisor for the Central/North sector, before coming to Cedar Springs.

Kelley was named Deputy of the year for 2014 for his success with the Cedar Springs transition, among other things. “Due to his outstanding performance, enthusiasm and work ethic, Sgt. Kelley was selected to be the Cedar Springs Unit supervisor and was instrumental in making this ‘Change of Command’ transition a huge success,” wrote Sheriff Larry Stelma at the time. 

Kelley has made a lot of friends in the community and will be missed by many. He has some mixed emotions of his own. “I’m sad to leave this assignment but excited for my new role in the investigative division,” he remarked.

On behalf of the community of Cedar Springs, The Post wishes Sgt. Kelley well on his new assignment!

Next week, we will introduce you to the new supervisor of the Cedar Springs unit, Sgt. Todd Probst. 

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Jerry Lynn Avery


c-obit-averyJerry Lynn Avery, 77 of Cedar Springs went into the loving arms of his Savior on Thursday, November 17, 2016 after a courageous battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born March 19, 1939 in Grand Rapids, MI the son of Donald and Caroline (Townes) Avery. Jerry had a thirty four year career as a police officer, serving in the Kent County Sheriff’s Department and before that, the Cedar Springs Police Department.  He enjoyed hunting and fishing, flying, bicycling and time with his grandkids. He was a member of Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church and the Northwest Soaring Club of Frankfort where he served as an instructor.  He was also a member of the Bad Bikers Bicycle Club, where he was known as the “Baddest Biker”. Surviving are his wife, Peggy (Beals) whom he married on November 12, 1957; sons, Mike (Denise) Avery, Tim (Kim) Avery; grandchildren, Sarah (Jordan) Brygal, James (Jessica) Edwards, Andy Avery, Jessica Martin, Jamie Jeffries III, Samantha Avery, Shelby Avery; 12 great grandchildren; brother, Leon (Janet) Avery. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers, Joe (Jean) Avery, David Avery; sister, Madeline (Stan) Piasecki. The family will greet friends Sunday, Nov. 20 at the Bliss-Witters & Pike Funeral Home, Cedar Springs. The service will be held Monday, Nov. 21 at Courtland-Oakfield United Methodist Church. Pastors Bill Johnson and Chuck Smith officiating. Interment Courtland Township Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the church or Faith Hospice.

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Change of command ceremony for police department


 

Kent County Sheriff badgeNovember 7, 6 p.m., Hilltop boardroom

By Judy Reed

Friday will officially be the last day of the Cedar Springs Police Department.

To honor the years of service and dedication of the Cedar Springs Police Department to the City of Cedar Springs and its citizens, the public is invited to a “Change of Command Ceremony” on Friday, November 7, at 6 p.m., between the City of Cedar Springs Police Department and the Kent County Sheriff Department. The ceremony will be held in the Cedar Springs Public Schools Hilltop Administration building, 3rd floor boardroom.

“The Kent County Sheriff Department recognizes the responsibility and trust the citizens and city officials of Cedar Springs have placed with the Kent County Sheriff Department. Sheriff Stelma and his staff look forward to bringing the Sheriff Department’s reputation for professionalism and top notch law enforcement resources to the citizens of Cedar Springs,” said Undersheriff Jon Hess.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, with the Kent County Sheriff Department, The Cedar Springs officers will be “depinned” of their current badges, and repinned as deputies with the KCSD. They will also take their oaths of office there. Kelley said that Officer Mike Stahl, who patrols a night shift, would begin his shift right after the ceremony (about 7 p.m.) as a Kent County Sheriff Deputy.

Sgt. Kelley said he began all the behind the scenes work to transition the department as soon as the City Council agreed to the contract October 9. “It’s been going well. We are on, or even ahead, of schedule,” he remarked.

Kelley said he has been in contact daily with the police in Cedar Springs or on site. He said that both Acting Chief Chad Potts, and former Chief Roger Parent, who recently came back part time as a consultant, have been helpful with the transition. “There is a lot of the behind the scenes stuff that has to happen,” explained Kelley. “It takes everyone working together many hours to make it all happen seamlessly.”

Once the officers become deputies, a full time officer from the KCSD will ride along with them on their shifts as part of the FTO training program. “It’s an officer-specific program,” explained Kelley, who is also an FTO training program supervisor. “It’s tailored for every officer. Our goal is to help any new hire. We want them to succeed, so we give them all the tools and training they need.”

The training program is expected to last through mid-February. “We don’t rush them through the program,” noted Kelley. “They can take as much time as they need. They know how to be a police officer; this helps them learn how to be a police officer with the Kent County Sheriff Department.”

Sgt. Kelley will be at Cedar Springs City Hall police offices daily, Monday through Friday, once the transition takes place.

 

 

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Saying goodbye to “Reserve Unit” at CSPD 


Galen Green is just one of three of the Reserve officers left with the Cedar Springs Police Department.

Galen Green is just one of three of the Reserve officers left with the Cedar Springs Police Department.

by Chief Roger Parent (retired, CSPD)

 

With City Council members voting to contract police services with Kent County, the long tradition of having a reserve unit will come to an end. Most residents probably never knew the difference if they were interacting with a reserve officer in uniform or a fully sworn certified police officer. The men of the reserve unit assisted regular patrol officers during special events, rode as a second uniform officer in the patrol unit and worked for the school at home football games.

When I became chief, I thought of changing their uniforms so that they appeared slightly different than the full-time officers. My patrol officers asked that I not do that. They wanted the reserve officers to have the same respect as they did while in uniform working for the Cedar Springs Police Department. This said a lot about those working the unit, because the full-time officers knew we had some very dedicated, professional, volunteers helping them with their police duties. I soon realized this was the right decision and enjoyed having these men help when needed over my years as chief.

Liaison Galen Green (12 years of service), Mike Hansen (18 years), and Steve Berkenpas (13 years), were the last men remaining assigned to the unit. Some former reserve officers have attended Criminal Justice programs through college and went on to become full-time or part-time police officers at CSPD and other police agencies.  Reserve officers volunteered their time between family and their other full-time jobs, but enjoyed what they did and took great pride in wearing the Cedar Springs police uniform. I’m not aware of an existing list showing all of the names of those who served, but Bernie, Tom and others reading this article know they served as a reserve officer, putting in many volunteer hours and working patrol shifts and school events over the years.

A “thank you” seems like such a small gesture of appreciation for what you and others who served before you have done for the City and its Police Department. I’m proud to have known each of you and wish all of you the very best.

 

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City approves contract with Sheriff Dept


N-pull-quoteBy Judy Reed

 

This time next month, officers in the Cedar Springs Police Department will be wearing Kent County Sheriff Department uniforms.

The Cedar Springs City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening, October 9, to approve a contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department for police services. Council member Jerry Hall was absent, and Council member Ashley Bremmer asked to abstain, since she is employed by the Sheriff Department.

Undersheriff Jon Hess and Chief Deputy Michele Young were on hand to explain the contract and answer questions from the council. Sheriff Larry Stelma was also there, as was Sgt. Kelley, who will be the transition sergeant and most likely the supervising sergeant once the transition takes place.

Young said she expects the savings to the City to be about $119,000 for 2015. She explained that by using the township pool, their costs would be lower, since there will be 34 officers in the pool. Our five would make up about 15 percent of that. “They are joining us at a mid-range (on the pay scale),” explained Young. “That’s a minor raise for them. But with the pool you won’t see those high spikes.”

Kent County Sheriff DeptThe five full-time officers were given welcome packets, which also contained an application. The Sheriff Dept. hopes to give them an offer of employment by the end of this week. The target starting date is November 7. Those officers will stay in the Cedar Springs unit unless they decide they want to move elsewhere. Many residents did not want to lose their officers, and with the offer for the full time officers to stay here, residents will still see familiar faces. 

While the part time officers don’t get that same offer, Undersheriff Hess said they have a lot of part time positions open. “We have some openings we have purposely kept open in case they want to apply,” he explained. He also mentioned that there are opportunities for the reserves as well.

The Cedar Springs unit will use the current Cedar Springs Police offices at City Hall. Officers will begin and end their day there. The sergeant will be there daily, five days a week, and serve as the supervising officer for the patrol deputies. A sector lieutenant will also give oversight to the unit.

There will be on deputy on patrol each 12-hour shift. If Cedar Springs decides they need to add a deputy for a short time period, they can do that, but there would be a charge.

The officers will enforce all the city ordinances, like they do now, as well as all other laws. They will also respond to private property accidents, help unlock cars, and respond anytime an officer is requested, the same way they do now. Those were some things Cedar Springs specifically asked for.

All police equipment will be turned over to the KCSD and used for half of the allocation costs. The other half are being waived for the 5-year agreement.

The agreement can be rescinded anytime with 60 days notice.

The city and the Sheriff Department have worked on this agreement for several months. The City Council asked the City Manager to look into possibly contracting with the Sheriff Department after Police Chief Roger Parent announced his retirement earlier this year.

The City thanks our police officers for their years of dedication to the community, their patience and understanding during this difficult time and most importantly, wishes them well going forward,” said City Manager Thad Taylor.

This is the first time anything like this has been done in Kent County.

“The city manager and the city council took a bold, innovative and progressive step as they seek to collaborate with the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services,” said Sheriff Larry Stelma, who also lives here in Cedar Springs. “I thank them for the trust and faith that they have placed with us and we look forward to serving the Cedar Springs community.”

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Policing issue to be discussed tonight


N-City-logo-web

Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma and/or his team will be at the Cedar Springs City Council meeting tonight at 7 p.m. to give a presentation on a proposal for contracting with the city on police services.

Under the proposal, the Cedar Springs Police Department would be dissolved, and the Sheriff Department would take over policing the city. The city’s current full time officers would be given the chance to apply to the department.

Currently, the Cedar Springs Police Department has six full-time officers (not including the Chief), four part-time officers, three unpaid reserves that work special events, one unpaid chaplain, and a part-time clerk.

Currently, three officers work 10 hours each, with two officers on duty during 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. Chief Roger Parent works during regular business hours daily, and is a backup for officers during the day shift.

Under the proposal, the Sheriff department would provide one full-time deputy on patrol 24 hours a day, and either a sergeant or a community police officer in the office during regular business hours. It’s not known whether that person would also function as a backup officer.

According to Chief Parent, there is sometimes a great need for two officers on in the evening. For example, on June 4, there were 16 calls between 5 p.m. and midnight for the two officers. The next night, there was only six. “It’s hot and cold. It’s a busy town,” he said.

The Sheriff Department projected a savings of over $120,000 for the City if they go with what they are proposing.

Parent, who worked for the Sheriff Department for many years before coming to Cedar Springs, is retiring in August. “I worked for the Sheriff Department so can’t say anything bad about them. There are a lot of good deputies. But what we have here is good and works for Cedar Springs,” he said.

He noted that with three current officers having over 10 years in and one at top pay, it would definitely affect their career paths, as well as service to the public. “I understand there would be a cost savings, and there would be police coverage, it would just be different. I feel like we give more personal attention, more follow up than some deputies could.”

He also noted that these officers chose to work here and dedicate themselves to our community. “Is it fair that one council decides this for them?” he asked.

To hear more about the proposal and possibly dates for a special meeting with the public, attend the meeting tonight at Cedar Springs City Hall at 7 p.m.

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Cedar Creek cleanup April 26


N-Cedar-Creek-cleanup-promo-web

It’s time again for the annual Cedar Creek Cleanup/Earth Day Celebration in Cedar Springs.

The 7th Annual Celebration will be held on Saturday, April 26, from10:00 a.m. until noon. The city will give away commemorative t-shirts to the first 50 participants who register for this event. The participants will meet at the Fire Barn at W. Maple and Main on Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. to receive their clean-up assignments and shirts. Pizza will be available at noon for all participants.

An e-waste collection trailer, staffed by Cedar Springs Rotarians, will also be available behind City Hall, for anyone wishing to dispose of electronic waste, including computers and old televisions.  Computer hard drives will be wiped and/or destroyed by Comprenew.  The e-waste trailer will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. (or until it is full).

The City of Cedar Springs Police Department will conduct an auction of surplus items, including 15 bicycles, beginning at 1:30 PM.

Registration forms are available on the City of Cedar Springs website at http://www.cityofcedarsprings.org. Pre-registration is not mandatory to participate in the cleanup. However, it will allow them to assign clean-up locations ahead of time as well as purchase trash bags and pizza.

Please call 696-1330 or email Rich Pajak at adminasst@cityofcedarsprings.org with any questions.

 

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Winter parking in effect


The Cedar Springs Police Department has been placing red warning cards on vehicles during the month of November regarding where to park overnight, and may soon be starting additional enforcement.

The Cedar Springs City Council voted in July to approve Ordinance No. 180 Section 36-86, which reads: no parking 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. from November 1st to April 1st on streets and areas that have a curb, such as Main Street and connecting side streets, and no parking within a distance of 20 feet of the center of a street for all other areas.

For snow removal reasons, City Council has approved this language, which does not allow someone to parallel park along the edge of the paved roadway. Other City ordinances cover vehicles parked in a front yard, so simply moving your vehicle further than 20 feet from the center of the street may still be in violation of a City Ordinance.

 

 

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Do you recognize this dog?


N-Stray-dogCedar Springs Police report that the dog in the photo has been running loose in a Cedar Springs neighborhood for the last several weeks and they are asking for help from residents to capture it.

The dog has been seen in the area of Grant, Ash and South Park Streets. Police Chief Roger Parent said it seems to be afraid of people, and does not appear to be a threat to kids walking to and from school. He has been getting into garbage at night, looking for food.

Animal Control has set a live trap in town, attempting to catch the dog. “Our goal is to capture him and have Animal Control pick him up,” explained Chief Parent. “If anyone is able to secure him in a garage or fenced yard they should call the Cedar Springs Police Department and we will contact Animal Control to explain the importance of having this dog captured.”

Dogs picked up by animal control that remain unclaimed are evaluated and placed up for adoption as long as they are found to be healthy and behaviorally acceptable.

 

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Do you know who this is?



The Cedar Springs Police Department is seeking help from the public to identify a suspect who has been using a stolen credit card.
Officer Chad Potts took a report late last month on a credit card that was stolen from a vehicle on N. Park Street during the night.
The suspect in the photo used the stolen credit card at Wesco, at the corner of Main and Pine Street, a couple of times recently. If you know who he is, please contact the Cedar Springs Police at 696-1311, or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345. You can submit tips online by going to www.silentobserver.org/reportacrime.asp. Or you can text a tip to CRIMES (274637). TIP138 must appear in the first line of your message, then type your message. All tips to Silent Observer are anonymous.

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