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Tag Archive | "Kent County Sheriff Department"

Rockford rowing coach arrested


 

Timothy Warren Vallier

Timothy Warren Vallier

The head coach of the men’s rowing team at Rockford Public Schools has been fired and arraigned on charges after allegedly recording videos of female athletes changing their clothes.

Timothy Warren Vallier, 30, was arrested on Friday, July 8, and has been arraigned in 63rd District Court on two obscenity charges—one charge of child sexually abusive commercial activity and one charge of possession of child sexually abusive material; and two charges of using a computer in the commission of a crime.

Rockford Public School Superintendent Mike Shibler contacted the Kent County Sheriff Department on the morning of July 8 after receiving a call from one of the crew (rowing) parents informing him that a video camera had been found in a crew vehicle with inappropriate footage.

Two assistant coaches in the vehicle reportedly saw the camera, and when one of the girls got curious and looked at it, found footage of two female athletes changing their clothes inside the changing room area of the Rockford Crew House located at 5501 Jupiter Ave., in Plainfield Township.

In a note sent home to parents, Shibler said that he contacted the Kent County Sheriff’s Department immediately, and turned over the camcorder within the hour.

“Once I became aware of the video, my first priority was to contact law enforcement in the hopes of identifying and getting the perpetrator off the streets to protect our students,” he said. “Thanks to the excellent work of detectives, this happened within 12 hours of the district learning about the video. Law enforcement asked that this be kept confidential while they conducted their investigation.”

Vallier reportedly admitted to police that he put the camcorder in the girls changing room on multiple occasions. He also said he has done this several times over the last few years, and has videos of other female athletes.

He is being held in the Kent County Jail on $100,000 cash/surety bond. The case is still under investigation.

“My thoughts are with those affected,” wrote Shibler in his letter to parents. “The fact that this can happen despite all of our safeguards to protect students is extremely troubling.”

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GR man injured in crash


A Grand Rapids man suffered internal injuries after he ran a stop sign at 14 Mile and Pine Island and was struck by another vehicle. Post photo by J. Reed.

A Grand Rapids man suffered internal injuries after he ran a stop sign at 14 Mile and Pine Island and was struck by another vehicle. Post photo by J. Reed.

A Grand Rapids man was ejected from his jeep Tuesday after he failed to stop at a stop sign in Algoma Township and was t-boned by another vehicle.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, the crash occurred about 4:20 p.m., Tuesday, July 5, at the intersection of 14 Mile Road and Pine Island. The 1999 jeep, driven by Randolph Galaszewski, 55, of Grand Rapids, was eastbound on 14 Mile and did not stop at the sign at Pine Island. He was then struck by a southbound 2000 Ford pickup driven by Matthew Wudkewych, 21, of Algoma Township.

The impact of the crash caused the driver of the jeep to be ejected. He was transported to Butterworth Hospital by Rockford Ambulance and is being treated for internal injuries. Police reported he was not wearing a seatbelt.

Neither the driver of the pickup nor his passenger, Hannah Krumenacker, 19, of Alpine Township, was injured.

Police said alcohol is believed to be a factor in the crash, which is still under investigation.

Algoma Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene.

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Deputy Tom McCutcheon chosen as school resource officer


 

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Tom McCutcheon will be on the job 40 hours a week at Cedar Springs Public Schools next fall as the new school resource officer.

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Tom McCutcheon will be on the job 40 hours a week at Cedar Springs Public Schools next fall as the new school resource officer.

By Judy Reed

When students return to school in September, there will be a new face there to greet them. Deputy Tom McCutcheon was recently selected as the new school resource officer (SRO) for Cedar Springs Public Schools. The position is through a partnership with the Kent County Sheriff Department, which the Board of Education approved on June 6.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, of the KCSD Cedar Springs unit, interviews were held at the Cedar Springs Public Schools Administration Building on June 28, where eight members of the school had an opportunity to interview five candidates from the Sheriff Department for the position. As a result of the interviews, Deputy Tom McCutcheon was selected as the Cedar Springs School Resource Officer.

Deputy McCutcheon began his career with the Kent County Sheriff Department in 1993. During this time Deputy McCutcheon has gained extensive knowledge and experience in Community Policing. Deputy McCutcheon spent many years as a D.A.R.E (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Instructor, speaking in many different school districts, including Cedar Springs.

“While teaching D.A.R.E., you were never at the same school two days in a row, but you still felt like you were part of something that helped kids change and was a good influence in their life,” noted McCutcheon.

The Post asked him why he wanted the SRO position in Cedar Springs. “I hope to be a positive influence to the young people there,” he explained. “A lot of people think of security, and students feeling safe. But it’s more. I want to be a part of the school. It’s like what being a community policing officer is; you try to be proactive. If there is criminal activity going on, and people look up to you and trust you, you can help reduce a lot of that.”

Deputy McCutcheon has a passion for serving kids and has had immense involvement in school and communities. He has served in the Comstock Park School District as a football and girls varsity softball coach. He started a local Boy Scout troop and established KOPS (Kids & Officers Productive Society, a program centered around helping disadvantaged youth build self-esteem to become productive students).

Deputy McCutcheon was recognized as the Kent County Sheriff Department Deputy of the Year in 2007, and School Officer of the year by the West Michigan Crime Prevention Association. He has also served as president of that same group.

The School Officer of the Year award was given to him for his work in the KOPS program. McCutcheon is proud of the work he did in that program. He said he had been working with the same young man over and over at East Kentwood’s alternative high school, who kept getting into trouble. He spoke with the principal, and they formed the program to help troubled youth get back on track. “Over the four years of the program, we had multiple grads go on to college or work; students go back to regular high school; and students that had no more involvement in crime,” he explained.

McCutcheon is excited to begin his new position in Cedar Springs in August, where he will be on campus 40 hours a week. “I am excited and looking forward to the challenge of getting to know them (the students) and them getting to know me. I’ll do what I can to help them succeed. It’s just another piece of the puzzle—me doing what I can to help them achieve their goals,” he said.

The position will be jointly funded by the school and the county. The Kent County Sheriff Department offered to fund 30 percent of the program. The outstanding cost to the district would be approximately $76,000, after the Sheriff Department’s contribution. The cost would cover wages and benefits for 40 hours per week for the deputy; all standard issued deputy equipment; a Kent County Sheriff car, fully equipped, fueled and maintained; and all police training and supervision.

“We look forward to our partnership with the Kent County Sherriff Department and a focus on school safety and security throughout our district,” said Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn. “We know through our surveys of staff and parents that they view safety and security as a priority for our CSPS and we do too! This initiative is just one way we are responding to that feedback. We now join many districts in Kent County in the SRO program and know it will serve us well.”

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Event connects kids with bikes


Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser helped fit kids with bicycle helmets at the Blessing of the Bicycles at The Springs Church last Saturday. Courtesy photo.

Cedar Springs Fire Chief Marty Fraser helped fit kids with bicycle helmets at the Blessing of the Bicycles at The Springs Church last Saturday. Courtesy photo.

By Judy Reed

The second annual Blessing of the Bicycles, held last Saturday, June 25, at The Springs Church, was a big hit with kids and families in the community.

“I had a lot of people tell me they and their kids were having a great time,” said organizer Johna Alexander.

Kids who did not have a bike were able to choose from about 50 used ones, and another six new ones were given away through a drawing.

Dozens of kids and families turned out to pick out a good used bike and/or enjoy the festivities. Courtesy photo.

Dozens of kids and families turned out to pick out a good used bike and/or enjoy the festivities. Courtesy photo.

Dozens of kids and parents showed up to take advantage of the free bicycles, helmets, t-shirts, face painting, bubbles, and chalk art. The Kent County Sheriff Department and Cedar Springs Fire Department were there to interact with the kids, and minor bike repairs were also available. A clown and upbeat music rounded out the celebration.

Pastor Cherri’ Kerr also said a blessing over the bicycles.

“I really want to thank everyone that donated and everyone that helped make this year’s event a success,” said Alexander.

She added that in preparation for next year, she will be taking bicycle donations all year long. She said that they can be dropped off at The Springs Church, or you can call her at 616-799-2850 for pickup.

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Three injured in crash


According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, three people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries on Friday morning, June 17.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, three people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries on Friday morning, June 17.

Three people were sent to the hospital with serious injuries on Friday morning, June 17, after a crash in Courtland Township.

The crash occurred about 9:08 a.m. on Myers Lake Avenue, south of 15 Mile Road.

According to the Kent County Sheriff Department, a red 1995 Chevy extended cab Silverado driven by James Byrne, 75, of Greenville, was southbound on Myers Lake Avenue. A black 1998 Chevy Cavalier driven by Jarrid Thrush, 24, of Edmore, was northbound on Myers Lake Avenue. The black Cavalier crossed the centerline and struck the Chevy Silverado head on.

The occupants of the Silverado—driver James Byrne and front seat passenger Jennifer Carroll, 50, of Sand Lake—suffered serious injuries and they were transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth Hospital. The driver of the Cavalier, Jarrid Thrush, also suffered serious injuries and was transported by Rockford Ambulance to Butterworth Hospital.

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Deputy pulls driver from burning car


Kent County Sheriff Deputy Ron (Skip) Kimbrough

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Ron (Skip) Kimbrough

Kent County Sheriff Deputy Ron (Skip) Kimbrough was stuck in the southbound traffic backup on US131, just south of West River Drive on Tuesday, June 21, about 8:25 a.m., when another driver pulled up next to him and told him about a serious car crash 10-15 car lengths behind him. Deputy Kimbrough then turned his patrol car around and went in search of the crash.

He soon located the scene. A vehicle had struck the back of a small pickup truck , and the truck was on fire. The female driver was pinned in and unconscious. The other driver was able to exit her vehicle on her own and was treated for minor injuries at the scene.

Three other motorists exited their vehicles and assisted the deputy by smashing the driver’s door window out. They pulled the driver out through the driver’s door window and laid her on the pavement away from the car.

Both vehicles were quickly engulfed in flames until the Plainfield Fire Department extinguished the fire.

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Three hurt in rollover crash


This pickup truck rolled Friday morning, June 10, injuring the female driver and two young passengers. Post photo by J. Reed.

This pickup truck rolled Friday morning, June 10, injuring the female driver and two young passengers.

Three hurt in rollover crash

A woman and two children were sent to the hospital on Friday morning, June 10, after their truck rolled on 17 Mile in Solon Township.

The crash occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m., in front of 1750 17 Mile Road, east of Lime Lake Rd. According to Joshua Roney, of Kent City, he was heading westbound on 17 Mile in his Ford F350 pickup, and was turning left into the driveway, where he works, when another pickup behind him tried to go around him and clipped his back bumper. “She was going way too fast,” he said.

The other pickup then rolled.

The call came into 911 saying passengers had been ejected. According to the Michigan State Police, a young female passenger, Gabby Olvera, 9, of Kent City, was ejected. The other two, driver Debbie Monroe, 58, of Sparta, and a young male, Gustafo Olvera 10, were not ejected.

According to Lt. Chris Paige, with Solon Fire and Rescue, the female driver, grandmother of the two children, was transported to the hospital by Rockford Ambulance with serious injuries, and the two children were transported with non-life threatening injuries.

The Michigan State Police said that the Monroe was cited for being unable to stop in an assured clear distance.

Assisting the MSP at the scene was the Kent County Sheriff Department, Solon Fire and Rescue, Algoma Fire and Rescue, and Rockford Ambulance.

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School board approves deputy on campus


CSPS-hawk-logo

By Judy Reed

The Cedar Springs Board of Education showed Monday evening that school security is high on their priority list, when they approved a partnership with the Kent County Sheriff Department to have a School Resource Officer on campus (SRO) 40 hours a week for the upcoming school year.

Building relationships with students to prevent problems and increasing campus security are just two of the things that a SRO would do. Sgt. Jason Kelley noted that there had been 168 calls on school property since the beginning of 2015. “These are reactive—someone called us. We could lower that number and intervene before something happens,” he explained.

Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn reminded everyone that there are 4,000-plus people on campus every day, when you include students, staff, and parent volunteers.

“Security has been on everyone’s mind, especially with recent developments,” said trustee Joe Marckini.

The Kent County Sheriff Department offered to fund 30 percent of the program.

The outstanding cost to the district would be approximately $76,000, after the Sheriff Department’s contribution. The cost would cover wages and benefits for 40 hours per week for the deputy; all standard issued deputy equipment; a Kent County Sheriff car, fully equipped, fueled and maintained; and all police training and supervision.

VanDuyn explained that because of a layoff at the high school of a security officer, the net cost would be about $40,000 to the district for the program.

Marckini wanted to make clear that them hiring the SRO is not why the security officer was being laid off.

“No,” said VanDuyn. “We’ve had bomb threats and intruders on campus this year. This is a very difficult decision. We are looking at our emergency plan. We have worked hard, but we can’t have everything in our budget. We are moving toward a whole new model,” she explained.

The SRO will be based at the high school, but visit other buildings. Cedar Springs Middle School, located on 16 Mile, will keep their security officer.

The school and the Sheriff Department will work together on the process of choosing the deputy. The Sheriff Department will accept letters of interest from deputies, then narrow the field down to those they think might be a good fit for the district. School representatives will then interview the deputies, and forward their decision to the Sheriff Department for final approval.

There are currently six schools actively involved in the program, each with their own officer—Northview, Kenowa Hills, Kent City, Forest Hills, Lowell, and Byron Center. Caledonia also just approved joining the program.

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Woman charged with leaving child in a vehicle


Parents, caregivers advised to never leave child alone in car

Police were called to the Walmart in Comstock Park on Saturday, May 21, at 6:18 p.m., on a report of a child left in a vehicle.

Kent County Deputy Ysquierdo arrived on scene and found a 2-year-old girl in the back of a running car. He was unable to awaken her, and it appeared she had a red face and was sweaty. When he forced his way into the car, the child began to wake up. She was transferred to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital with signs of heat exhaustion, but is expected make a full recovery.

The child’s grandmother, Karol Anne Fitzgerald, 71, of Stanton, was found shopping in Walmart. On May 25, the Kent County Prosecutor’s office charged Fitzgerald with one count of leaving a child in an unattended vehicle, which is a 93 days misdemeanor. On May 26, she was arrested and released on a $500 surety bond.

A referral was made to Child Protective Services.

This type of scenario happens more often than you might expect, many with tragic outcomes.

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, as of May 17, six children had already died in the U.S. from suffering heat stroke in a car. On average, 37 deaths a year occur for that reason.

“We know from past experience that fatalities can happen anytime, anywhere, including in moderate temperatures,” said Nick Lyon, director of MDHHS. “We don’t want to see this happen to any family. That’s why we are asking everyone to help protect kids from this very preventable tragedy by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute.”

It doesn’t have to be the middle of the summer for a child to get overheated. Even with seemingly mild temperatures outside, the temperatures inside a car can rise 20 degrees in as little as 10 minutes. A child’s body heats up three to five times faster than adult’s, making them more susceptible to heat stroke. Temperatures inside a car can easily be double the temperature outside.

MDHHS said we can cut down the number of deaths and near misses by remembering to ACT.

A: Avoid heatstroke-related injury and death by never leaving your child alone in a car, not even for a minute. And make sure to keep your car locked when you’re not in it so kids don’t get in on their own.

C: Create reminders by putting something in the back of your car next to your child such as a briefcase, a purse or a cell phone that is needed at your final destination. This is especially important if you’re not following your normal routine.

T: Take action. If you see or hear a child alone in a car, call 911. Emergency personnel want you to call. They are trained to respond to these situations. One call could save a life.

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Rockford man killed in crash


A Rockford man died in this crash at 14 Mile and Northland Drive last week.

A Rockford man died in this crash at 14 Mile and Northland Drive last week.

A 24-year-old Rockford man died last Wednesday when the car he was riding in turned in front of another vehicle.

According to the Michigan State Police Rockford Post, the accident occurred about 11:17 p.m., May 18, at 14 Mile and Northland Drive, in Algoma Township.

The investigation showed that the driver of a 2001 Ford Mustang, a 22-year-old Rockford resident, was traveling westbound on M-57 (14 Mile) when he turned left (south) on to Northland Drive and turned into the path of an eastbound 2008 Buick Enclave driven by a Cedar Springs man.

The driver of the Buick wasn’t treated for any injuries at the scene, while the driver of the Mustang was transferred to the hospital. The passenger of the Mustang, Luke Haworth-Hoeppner, 24, of Rockford, was pronounced dead at the scene by medical personnel.

Police said alcohol is thought to be a factor in the crash.

Assisting at the scene was the Kent County Sheriff Department, Algoma Fire Department, and Rockford Ambulance.

The crash remains under investigation.

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