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Tag Archive | "Kent County Sheriff Department"

Arrests made in Sparta robbery


Corey Steven Robach

Corey Steven Robach

Joel Francis Thompson

Joel Francis Thompson

The Sparta Police and Kent County Sheriff Department arrested two suspects this week for the armed robbery that occurred on January 12 at 10 p.m. at the AGO gas station, 560 E. Division Street, in Sparta.

Two suspects entered the store, with one pulling a gun on the clerk, and the other watching the door. Video surveillance was distributed to the media to help identify the suspects.

According to Police Chief Andrew Milanowski, they arrested Joel Francis Thompson, 23, of Wayland, and Corey Steven Robach, 25, of Sparta, after an extensive investigation by Sparta Police Officer Natashia Smith and Detective Porter from the Kent County Sheriff Department.

Thompson was reportedly the gunman, and Robach watched the door.

Both men were charged with armed robbery and conspiracy to commit armed robbery. Thompson was arraigned Wednesday, February 25, and Robach will be arraigned Thursday, February 26. Bond was set at $250,000.

Thompson is being charged as a habitual offender. He was a parolee, and previously served time for first-degree home invasion, and resisting arrest.

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Police arrest one brother and seek another


 

Jason Andrew Butler

Jason Andrew Butler

Joseph Clayton Butler

Joseph Clayton Butler

The Kent County Sheriff Department is asking for the public’s help in finding a suspect charged with copper wire theft.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the Cedar Springs Unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department, an area business reported the theft of valuable copper wire on January 12, 2015. The wire was later sold in Grand Rapids, which led them to the identity of the suspect—Joseph Clayton Butler, 34. Butler was also arrested on wire theft two years ago.

On Wednesday, January 21, the Kent County Prosecutor’s office authorized charges against Joseph Butler of buying/selling stolen scrap metal, a 5-year felony.  Police are currently looking for him, and if you have any information on where he is, please contact Detective Rob Porter at (616) 632-6017, Detective Mike Hopkins at (616) 632-6015, or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

During the course of the investigation, they came across Joseph’s brother, Jason Andrew Butler. On January 15, the KCSD investigated the theft and unlawful use of a credit card in the City of Cedar Springs. Jason Butler, 36, of Cedar Springs, was identified as the suspect, and was arrested on four warrants out of Ionia County, including forgery, a domestic charge and two contempt charges. He was lodged at the Kent County jail and then transferred to Ionia County.

On Wednesday, January 21, the Kent County Prosecutor’s office authorized charges against Jason Butler for two counts of stealing/retaining a financial transaction device. He will be arraigned in Kent County after facing the Ionia County charges.

 

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Coming full circle


Kent County Sheriff Deputy Jason VanDyke started with the Cedar Springs Unit Monday. Post photo by J. Reed.

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Jason VanDyke started with the Cedar Springs Unit Monday. Post photo by J. Reed.

New deputy starts in Cedar Springs

By Judy Reed

 

Twenty-two years ago, Jason VanDyke, then 24, was a fresh-faced graduate from the criminal justice program at Grand Rapids Community College. He worked as a part time deputy at Wayland, Allegan and Martin, and decided to put in for the full-time position in the City of Cedar Springs. He was one of 70 applicants.

Scott Brown got the full time position, and VanDyke was hired part time, then soon changed to full time. He worked for the Cedar Springs Police Department until 1996, when he hired on at the Kent County Sheriff Department to be able to pursue more opportunities. He’s had plenty of opportunities and experience there, and the opportunity they offered him this year was to come back to Cedar Springs. And he couldn’t be happier.

“It’s a privilege to be able to come back and work here again,” remarked VanDyke. “It’s a great community; a hard-working Red Flannel town.”

While at the Kent County Sheriff Department, VanDyke worked as a patrol officer, worked on the E-Unit, and on the tactical and SWAT teams from 1996 to 2003, and worked in the detective unit from 2003 to 2006. He went back out on patrol in 2007, and then did community policing from 2008-2009. From 2009 to the present, he patrolled northern Kent County. VanDyke grew up in Wyoming, and attended Grandville High School. But that side of the county is not where his heart is.

“All of my years on patrol except one, I patrolled this area,” he explained. “It was a choice. This is where I want to be. I’ve lived up here since 1992. It’s my home.”

This newspaper clipping shows Jason VanDyke (far right) when he was first hired on as a part time officer with the City of Cedar Springs 22 years ago. On the left is Officer Scott Brown, and in the middle is former Chief Marv Weinrich.

This newspaper clipping shows Jason VanDyke (far right) when he was first hired on as a part time officer with the City of Cedar Springs 22 years ago. On the left is Officer Scott Brown, and in the middle is former Chief Marv Weinrich.

When VanDyke heard about the Sheriff Department’s proposal to do policing in Cedar Springs, he was excited for the community. “I knew they could offer more services, programs, education, community policing,” he said. But he also knew all the officers, and was glad to hear they would be hired on. “They’re good officers. They know what they are doing. They just need training in the way the county does things,” he added.

VanDyke said he had put in a bid to work in Cedar Springs next year, and then when Ed Good transferred to court duty, a slot opened up for full time here right away. He started full time for the city on Monday, January 12. “I’m really happy to be working here,” he said.

While out on patrol in the northern Kent County area, he covered eight townships. “It was busy to say the least. It’s nice to be in a smaller community, where you know people, and it’s a little slower-paced,” he said.

VanDyke has been stopping at the schools and other places to introduce himself. “Everyone’s been friendly,” he remarked.

And, while VanDyke doesn’t want to make his work personal, he has a heart for the people in Cedar Springs. “I’m just glad to have the opportunity to do something positive for the community,” he said.

 

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Two arrested after fleeing police


Gabriel Cavasos

Gabriel Cavasos

Two teens were arrested and a third suspect fled after leading police on a chase Sunday evening.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, deputies attempted a traffic stop on a vehicle about 11:17 p.m. Sunday, December 28, on Plainfield Avenue near Woodworth in Plainfield Township. The vehicle had been reported stolen out of the City of Kentwood earlier in the evening.

The vehicle fled northbound on Plainfield Avenue and was pursued by deputies to Northland Drive and then continued northbound. The vehicle ran over spike strips, on Wolverine Blvd at Belding Rd, that were deployed by a Rockford City Police Officer. Deputies continued to pursue the vehicle into the city of Rockford and the vehicle became incapacitated due to striking the spike strip.

Three male suspects ran from the vehicle on 10 Mile near Courtland and went northbound. A perimeter was set and an Michigan State Police K-9 was used for a track. Two of the three suspects were located approximately 1.5 miles north of the scene and were taken into custody. The third is still outstanding.

An 18-year-old male from Wyoming and a 17-year-old male from Kentwood were both lodged on multiple charges.

The 18-year-old, Gabriel Jose Cavasos, was arraigned on Tuesday, December 30, and charged with resisting and obstructing a police officer, a probation violation, and with being a habitual offender, second offense. A charge of receiving and concealing stolen property-motor vehicle was dismissed.

His bond was set at $2,500 cash surety on the resisting/obstruction charge, and $100,000 on the probation violation. He is still in custody.

No info had been released yet at press time on the other suspects.

 

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Rockford men injured in crash


 

Three young men were injured in an accident in Cannon Township last week. Photo from WOOD TV8.

Three young men were injured in an accident in Cannon Township last week. Photo from WOOD TV8.

Three young men from Rockford were seriously injured last Thursday when the car they were riding in crashed into a tree.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, deputies responded to a personal injury accident at 9 Mile and Young Avenue in Cannon Township about 6:02 a.m., December 4, involving a passenger car and three occupants. Police said that the driver, Jacob Taylor, 21, of Rockford, lost control of the vehicle and crossed the centerline and struck a tree.

Taylor suffered critical injuries and was transported by Aeromed to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital. The front seat passenger, Bret Bailey, 21, of Rockford, also suffered critical injuries, and was transported by Rockford Ambulance to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital. The back seat passenger, Mitchell Fabro, 22, of Rockford, suffered serious injuries, and was also transported to Spectrum Butterworth by Rockford Ambulance.

 

 

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Sheriff Department introduces new K9


Sabre, a new patrol dog, will be teamed up with Kent County Sheriff Deputy Dan Alderink. Photo courtesy of the KCSD.

Sabre, a new patrol dog, will be teamed up with Kent County Sheriff Deputy Dan Alderink. Photo courtesy of the KCSD.

There is a new member of the Kent County Sheriff Department—one with four legs instead of two. K9 Sabre, a new patrol dog, was introduced to the community Wednesday.

K9 Sabre is a 2-year old German Shepard from the Netherlands. He joined the Kent County Sheriff Department in July 2014, and was purchased due to the anticipated retirement of K9 Joe in December 2014.

K9 Sabre’s handler is Deputy Dan Alderink, an 18-year veteran who has worked as a County Patrol Officer and Field Training Officer. In 2004, he was assigned as a Detective with the Kent Area Narcotics Enforcement Team and, in March 2006, became a K9 handler specializing in narcotics with K9 Joe. In January 2014, K9 Joe transitioned from a single purpose (narcotics) to a dual purpose Patrol K9 (narcotics and tracking) and Deputy Alderink and K9 Joe were reassigned to the Road Patrol. Shortly after certifying in tracking, K9 Joe tracked a bank robber to his house, resulting in an apprehension by detectives and the suspect confessing to the robbery.

K9 Sabre and Deputy Alderink, attended a five-week tracking and narcotics K9 academy through Vigilant Canine Services Inc. held at the Kent County Sheriff’s Honor Camp. K9 Sabre will be utilized as a Patrol and Narcotics canine trained in tracking and narcotics detection.

Sabre is named in honor of a Lansing Police Department (LPD) K9 that was killed in the line of duty on Saturday, January 23, 1999. The LPD K9, named Sabre, was handled by LPD (ret.) Officer Matt Ramsey. Sabre was shot and killed while attempting to take down an armed suspect following a foot pursuit. The suspect had broken into an occupied residence while attempting to flee officers. As entry was made into the home, the suspect opened fire. Sabre immediately attacked the suspect as officers returned fire. Both K9 Sabre and the suspect were fatally wounded.

“Kent County Sheriff Department is proud to honor fallen Lansing Police Department K9 Sabre with his name selected for our new patrol dog,” said Sheriff Larry Stelma.

 

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Police transition nears month mark


Sgt. Jason Kelley, supervisor of the Cedar Springs unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department.

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.

 

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Winter parking in effect


The Kent County Sheriff Department Cedar Springs Unit would like to remind the residents of the City of Cedar Springs that winter parking is now in effect.

Under Ordinance No. 180 Section 36-86, no parking is allowed from 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. from November 1 to April 1 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. The ordinance was approved last year by the City Council to help with snow removal.

There are public lots available to park in overnight, but cars must be moved daily. Lots can be found at the NE corner of Ash and Second; the SE corner of Elm and Second; the SW corner of Ash and First; and the NW corner of Cherry and First.

“Compliance with the ordinance is key in keeping the city roads clear during the winter months,” said Sgt. Jason Kelley, supervisor of the Cedar Springs Unit. “Your attention to and assistance with this matter is greatly appreciated.”

A violation of the ordinance is a civil infraction.

 

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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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