November 7, 6 p.m., Hilltop boardroom
By Judy Reed
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.
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.