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Tag Archive | "Kent County Sheriff Department"

Sheriff Department recognizes victim advocates and citizens


Pictured from L to R: Victim advocate Jay Groendyke, residents Ron and Mavee Blain, and victim advocate Charles Roetman.

Pictured from L to R: Victim advocate Jay Groendyke, residents Ron and Mavee Blain, and victim advocate Charles Roetman.

The Kent County Sheriff Department honored two volunteer victim advocates and two county residents on Thursday, November 13, by presenting them with Public Service Awards and Letters of Appreciation.

According to the Sheriff Department, victim advocates Jay Groendyke and Charles Roetman and Kent County residents Ron and Mavee Blain were recognized for their exceptional efforts and kindness in aiding a spouse after the death of her husband in an ultra-light plane crash last summer.

On August 24, 2014, Victim Advocates Jay and Charles were called to assist on a fatal airplane (Ultra-Light) crash located at 7360 Lincoln Lake Avenue, in Vergennes Township. Once at the scene of the crash, the victim advocates were introduced to Mrs. Delia Bowker, the wife of deceased pilot Bryan Bowker. Delia and Bryan had driven their motor home from New Mexico to Lowell, Michigan, for the sole purpose of purchasing this ultralight aircraft.

The Bowkers had no family or friends anywhere in the State of Michigan. Delia was born and raised in the Philippines and spoke broken English, which made it extremely difficult for the victim advocates to communicate with her. Delia was a witness to the accident, and she was exhibiting a high level of distress, grief, anger and anxiety over what had just taken place.

Sheriff Larry Stelma honors the victim advocates and citizens that helped a grieving spouse after an ultra-light plane crash last summer.

Sheriff Larry Stelma honors the victim advocates and citizens that helped a grieving spouse after an ultra-light plane crash last summer.

Jay and Charles were comforting and assisting Delia, and within a short period of time a local couple, Ron and Mavee Blain stopped by, asking if they could help in anyway. Mrs. Blain was also born and raised in the Philippines, and offered to translate between the victim advocates and Delia. This was an overwhelmingly generous gesture and a much needed miracle for everyone involved.

Jay and Charles worked tirelessly over the next several hours gathering information from the Deputies on scene, while they worked at keeping the media away from the grieving spouse. They also comforted the owner of the aircraft, Mr. Paul Nichols who was showing extreme grief over the unfortunate accident. Jay and Charles assisted with arrangements for funeral homes in Grand Rapids and New Mexico. They called several of Bryan and Delia’s friends, and informed them of the tragic accident. Arrangements were made for friends of Bryan and Delia to fly into Grand Rapids the following day.

Following their generous offer, Mrs. Bowker agreed to stay with Mr. and Mrs. Blain, until her friends from New Mexico arrived the following day. Victim Advocates Jay and Charles drove the Bowker’s motor home, trailer and dog to the Blain home, as Mrs. Bowker was unable to drive the motor home herself. Jay and Charles then facilitated a gathering where all involved continued to support and comfort Delia.

The next day, Victim Advocates Jay and Charles met the Blains and Delia at the Gerald R. Ford Airport to pick up the friends arriving from New Mexico. Information, comfort and resources were shared over dinner, with all involved. The Blains once again opened their home to Delia and her friends; they accepted the invitation and were very appreciative of the generous hospitality.

The Sheriff Department said that Kent County Victim Advocates Jay Groendyke and Charles Roetman went above and beyond the traditional expectations of the role of victim advocate. They provided compassionate and professional care for Mrs. Bowker, spending in excess of thirty hours with her over a three-day period, following the tragic event. During the three-day period, Jay and Charles unselfishly placed the needs of Mrs. Bowker ahead of their own lives and responsibilities.

Mr. and Mrs. Blain opened their hearts and their home to a complete stranger, who was in great distress, for three days and two nights providing care and comfort to her. Their unselfish kindness was not only a comfort to Mrs. Bowker, but a source of great relief to our victim advocates, knowing that someone was watching over Mrs. Bowker, grieving so far away from home.

For more information on the Victim Services Unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department, please visit www.accesskent.com/Sheriff/victim_services.htm or email Sandi Jones at sandi.jones@kentcountymi.gov, or call (616) 632-6221.

 

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Cedar Springs Police now Sheriff Deputies


Four Cedar Springs Police officers were sworn in as deputies Friday evening, November 7. From left to right: Deputy Mike Stahl, Deputy Chad Tucker, Deputy Chad Potts, and Deputy Ed Good. Post photo by J. Reed.

Four Cedar Springs Police officers were sworn in as deputies Friday evening, November 7. From left to right: Deputy Mike Stahl, Deputy Chad Tucker, Deputy Chad Potts, and Deputy Ed Good. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Four Cedar Springs Police officers were sworn in to the Kent County Sheriff Department Friday night, November 7, in a change of command ceremony at the Hilltop Administration building.

Officer Mike Stahl, Officer Chad Tucker, Acting Chief Chad Potts, and Sgt. Ed Good are now officially Kent County Sheriff Deputies. Sgt. Jason Kelley, from the Kent County Sheriff Department, will be in charge of the Cedar Springs unit.

The officers went through an unpinning ceremony, where their spouses unpinned their Cedar Springs badges. Officers Mandy Stahl and Jonathan Ludwick also participated in the unpinning, but will not be working for the Sheriff Department. Officer Mandy, who had been with the Cedar Springs Police Department for 12-1/2 years, decided to retire from police work, and is now working with animals at the Kent County animal shelter. Officer Ludwick was a part time officer.

The Cedar Springs Police before the ceremony. From left to right: Officer Chad Tucker, Officer Jonathan Ludwick, Acting Chief Chad Potts, Officer Mandy Stahl, Officer Mike Stahl, Sgt. Ed Good, and retired Police Chief Roger Parent. Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Department.

The Cedar Springs Police before the ceremony. From left to right: Officer Chad Tucker, Officer Jonathan Ludwick, Acting Chief Chad Potts, Officer Mandy Stahl, Officer Mike Stahl, Sgt. Ed Good, and retired Police Chief Roger Parent. Photo courtesy of Kent County Sheriff Department.

After the unpinning, the officers then went out and changed into their deputy uniforms. Mayor Mark Fankhauser and others gave a few remarks to the audience during that time. “I want to express our sincere appreciation for the work they’ve done. They are top notch. They are still our police department, just with a different uniform. We will grow in a positive and dynamic manner and they will represent us on a much larger scale,” he said.

Dan Koornydke, with the Kent County Board of Commissioners called it a big day, and historic for Kent County. “It’s a great thing we are doing. It’s a win-win for Kent County and Cedar Springs,” he said, noting that Cedar Springs will get all the resources that the Sheriff Department has to offer.

Sheriff Larry Stelma also called it a historic event, and the largest partnering program in Kent County. “It’s innovative and progressive, and you don’t hear that much with City Councils,” he noted. He thanked them, and talked about the meetings with City Manager Thad Taylor and former Police Chief Roger Parent that got the ball rolling. He thanked Kent County Administrator Daryl DeLabbio for his work with staff to make sure interests of both parties were met.

Sheriff Larry Stelma (left) introduces Sgt. Jason Kelley (right), who will be in charge of the Cedar Springs unit. Post photo by J. Reed.

Sheriff Larry Stelma (left) introduces Sgt. Jason Kelley (right), who will be in charge of the Cedar Springs unit. Post photo by J. Reed.

Stelma also thanked the Cedar Springs Police Officers, who he said gave the program their vote of confidence. “It was a courageous move on their part,” he said.

He also thanked his staff, including Chief Deputy Michelle Young, for working out all the details, and thanked the community for having faith in the Sheriff Department.

“Change can be hard,” remarked Stelma. “It’s intimidating and unsettling. Both change and failure to change can be dangerous. When we fail to change, it leads to stagnation. Knowing when to change and how to manage it is critical.”

Stelma gave some history of law enforcement and the changes the city has faced over the years. “This is my town, my community, too, for over 50 years,” he told the audience. “This should be a happy time, an opportunity to build on what the Mayor, the Council, and the City Manager has done. We are maximizing services and being a better steward of our scarce dollars.”

When the deputies returned, they were pinned with their Sheriff badges, and sworn in by Sheriff Stelma. Chaplain Larry VandeVoren, who also used to work for the Cedar Springs Police Department, said a blessing over the officers, asking God to keep them from harm.

The officers and retired Chief Roger Parent were all presented with shadow boxes that contained a Cedar Springs Police Department badge and police patch. A shadow box was also given to the city to display.

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Change of command ceremony for police department


Kent County Sheriff badge

Friday, November 7, 6 p.m., Hilltop 3rd floor boardroom

 

Cedar Springs has had some type of law enforcement, of one form or another, within its borders, since its earliest days as a village. Marshalls, Sheriff deputies, Village and City Police Chiefs and officers, have all served this town—sometimes in more than one capacity.

Another chapter in the history of Cedar Springs law enforcement will end on Friday, November 7, and a new one will begin.

That’s because Friday will officially be the last day of the Cedar Springs Police Department, and the first day of the Kent County Sheriff Department taking over law enforcement services.

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. That’s when the Cedar Springs Police Officers will take the oath of office to become Kent County Sheriff Deputies.

“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.

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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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Medical cause suspected in M-57 crash into home


The driver who crashed into this home on 14 Mile Road Monday may have suffered a medical emergency. Photo courtesy of the Rockford Squire.

The driver who crashed into this home on 14 Mile Road Monday may have suffered a medical emergency. Photo courtesy of the Rockford Squire.

A resident in the home located on the southwest corner of Myers Lake Road and 14 Mile Road (M-57) heard two crashing sounds before a final one shook the house. She found that a Jeep Patriot had left the road, gone down and up a hilled area, taken out a road sign, and narrowly missed a large pear tree before striking her home, at 7156 14 Mile Road, just before 12:23 p.m. on Monday, October 20.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the driver may have suffered a medical emergency. They reported that a witness said that the driver, identified as Bruce Wayne Beck, 69, of Gowen, was slumped over the wheel as he entered the intersection, and never tapped his brakes or made any attempt to slow down before hitting the home.

First responders to the scene worked on the driver, the sole inhabitant of the vehicle, for nearly an hour before transporting him to a downtown Grand Rapids hospital with a life-threatening medical condition. After removing the driver from the vehicle, they performed chest compressions in attempts to stabilize him before transportation via Rockford Ambulance.

Responding to the scene was Courtland Fire and Rescue, the Kent County Sheriff Department and Rockford Ambulance.

The resident of the home said she didn’t immediately realize what had happened, but noted that there are numerous accidents at the intersection. No one in the home was injured.

 

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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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Arrests made in Spencer Township homicide


Christopher Paul Duncan

Christopher Paul Duncan

Zachary Wayne Bennett

Zachary Wayne Bennett

Jaman Amr Parish

Jaman Amr Parish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tyler Coty Rohn

Tyler Coty Rohn

Isaac Michael-Paul Fezzey

Isaac Michael-Paul Fezzey

Kevin Carson Berry

Kevin Carson Berry

The Kent County Sheriff Department released the names last Friday of the six people arrested for the murder last month of Brent Luttrell, of Gowen. One of them, Christopher Paul Duncan, 29, of Lakeview, is the ex-boyfriend of Luttrell’s girlfriend, and the father of her child, who was there at the time of the home invasion.

Police believe that greed and jealousy were behind the attack, and that Duncan helped plan the home invasion, though he wasn’t present when it happened. Luttrell had been dating the woman for about six weeks, and had reportedly posted photos of himself on social media with large amounts of cash. Duncan and Luttrell had reportedly been friends at one time.

Police said that Luttrell, 34, was sleeping at his home, at 12849 Pinewood N.E., in Spencer Township, on September 8, when three armed masked males entered the residence about 1 a.m. Luttrell immediately ran outside and was confronted by at least one of the suspects. He was then forced into a red passenger vehicle with a loud muffler (driven by another person) and transported to the area of Lincoln Lake and Pinewood, where he was later found in the roadway with multiple wounds. Luttrell was transported to Spectrum Health Butterworth, where he died as a result of his injuries.

An autopsy was conducted and it was determined Luttrell died from multiple gunshot and stab wounds.

Police reported there were three other adults in the residence (Luttrell’s male cousin, his cousin’s girlfriend, and Luttrell’s girlfriend) and a juvenile male (Luttrell’s girlfriend’s son). The cousin received facial injuries and was treated and released from the hospital.

Arrested was:

Christopher Paul Duncan, 29, of Lakeview. He is facing charges of Conspiracy to commit home invasion and habitual offender, 2nd notice.

Zachary Wayne Bennett, 21, of Lyons. He is charged with conspiracy to commit home invasion; conspiracy to commit armed robbery; armed robbery; home invasion; and habitual offender, 3rd notice. He was sentenced in May to probation for committing larceny from a motor vehicle and breaking and entering a building with intent in February of this year.

Jaman Amr Parish, 34, of Ionia. He is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, felony firearm, and habitual offender, 4th notice. Parish was on parole, as of May of last year, for assaulting a prison employee, and breaking and entering with intent.

Tyler Coty Rohn, 25, of Ionia. He is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, and felony firearm.

Isaac Michael-Paul Fezzey, 21, of Ionia. He is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, felony firearm, and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm less than murder.

Kevin Carson Berry, 21, of Saranac. He is charged with felony murder, armed robbery, unlawful imprisonment, home invasion, and felony firearm.

The Sheriff Department said that the investigation is ongoing, and other people may be arrested in the future.

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City to vote on police contract Thursday night


N-City-logo-webby Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs City Council will vote Thursday evening on whether to contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department for police services.

Both the Kent County Corporate Counsel and the City Attorney approved the form of the draft agreement.

According to City Manager Thad Taylor, the agreement covers the specifics the City asked for, including hiring their full-time officers, and leaving them in the Cedar Springs unit. “They didn’t use the word ‘guaranteed’ but they are basically saying, ‘if you meet the criteria, we’ll hire you.’ They are accelerating the hiring process for them and they won’t have to go up against 400 other officers.”

Under the contract, Cedar Springs would have police coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They would supply one sergeant five days a week, eight hours a day, to supervise deputies. One deputy would patrol each eight-hour shift. Shifts would begin and end at the Cedar Springs Police Department. A Lieutenant at the Kent County Sheriff Department would help oversee the Cedar Springs unit.

Officers will still respond to calls for unlocking vehicles, private property accidents, and for any other reason a person calls requesting for a police officer.

One thing that did not come out quite as estimated was the cost savings. Initially, the cost savings were estimated at $100,000 to $120,000. In the agreement presented to the City, expenses used were estimated using actual Byron Township billing, and an estimated 6 percent inflationary factor. This brought the savings down to $57,809. However, Chief Deputy Michele Young wrote that she thinks they could still realize a savings of $111, 176 by changing the way some of the costs are calculated. She will be on hand Thursday evening to help explain that to the City Council.

Taylor said that he had spoken to Chief Deputy Young, and that the lower savings was a worst-case scenario. “She has shared some more realistic costs, and I have full confidence she will explain it,” said Taylor. “It’s made more difficult to estimate because they are on a calendar budget year (January through December) and ours starts in July.”

If Cedar Springs transfers equipment (such as vehicles, weapons, radar units, etc.) to the Kent County Sheriff Department, they will face no allocation costs in the initial five-year agreement, but they will in subsequent terms. “That’s a pretty standard accounting practice,” noted Taylor.

The agreement can be rescinded anytime with 60-day notice by either party.

The City Council meets Thursday evening, October 9, at City Hall. Workshop at 6:15, and meeting at 7 p.m.

You can download the agenda packet, which includes a copy of the contract at the city’s website www.cityofcedarsprings.org. Click on meetings, then 2014 council documents, and scroll down to 10-09-2014 and click on agenda packet.

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Police seek info in business break-ins


Police are asking for the public’s help to solve a rash of break-ins throughout Kent County, from as far north as Patriot Motors on Northland Drive (between Cedar Springs and Sand Lake) and all the way out to 28th Street.

The Kent County Sheriff Department said that during the past week there have been 15 business breaking and enterings that have occurred in

Kent County. In most of the break-ins, entry was made in the overnight hours by smashing or prying open a door and money was taken. The Kent County Sheriff Department is investigating these complaints and encourages you to call if you have any information regarding any of these break-ins or if you observe any suspicious activity. Call them at 632-6100 or 911. You may also call Silent Observer at 616-774-2345. The following businesses were targeted:

September 13 to 14, 2014

Alpine Trailer Sales: 5614 Alpine Ave NW

Northeast Tan: 5614 Alpine Ave NW

Zylstra Door: 7350 Broadmoor Ave SE

September 16 to 17, 2014

Inspiration of Art Studio: 6504 28th St SE #C

The Difference Hair Salon: 6200 28th St SE

Pomp and Artistry: 6504 28th St SE #S-1

September 18 to 19, 2014

Francis Reality: 825 Parchment #400

September 20 to 21, 2014

Gebhardt Seamless Gutters: 15551 Northland Dr. NE

Patriot Motors: 16252 Northland Dr. NE

Farm Bureau Insurance: 4150 East Beltline Ave NE #2

Tee 2 Green: 5300 East Beltline Ave NE #C

China Kitchen: 5150 Northland Dr. NE #L

Amigo Mobility Center: 4280 Plainfield Ave NE

Great Clips: 5150 Northland Dr. NE #C

Hulst & Jepsen Physical Therapy: 4120 East Beltline Ave NE

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Home invasions across the county


 

 

The Kent County Sheriff Department is asking residents to be on the lookout for people breaking into neighbor’s homes. According to Deputy VanSingel, of the Community Services Unit, in the past few weeks there has been several home invasions occurring from northern Kent County down to Caledonia, Gaines and Byron Townships.

“Most of the B&E’s have occurred during the day time hours,” said VanSingel. “Suspects are entering through unlocked garage doors or using force to enter through a window or door.”

These incidents are under investigation by the Kent County Sheriff’s Department Detective Bureau. If you have any information pertaining to any of the B&E’s, please call the Kent County Sheriff’s Department at 616-632-6100 or Silent Observer at 1-866-774-2345.

“We encourage everyone to take the time to be diligent and make sure your residence is secure, all doors and windows are locked. If you see a suspicious subject or vehicle in your neighborhood, please contact the police immediately and report the situation,” said Deputy VanSingel.

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