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Tag Archive | "Roger Parent"

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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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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City to study Sheriff proposal for policing


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By Judy Reed

 

With Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent retiring in September, the Cedar Springs City Council has a choice to make: either hire a new police chief, or contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department to provide law enforcement for the city of 3,500-plus residents.

Last month the City Council directed City Manager Thad Taylor to ask Sheriff Larry Stelma to provide a cost for the same level of service the current police provide. The Sheriff and his team presented Taylor and Chief Parent with a proposal last week that contained two options to consider.

“It’s not quite apples to apples but as close as they can get,” explained Taylor.

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. The police provide 30 hours a day of patrol. Three officers work 10 hours each, with two officers on duty during 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. There is then one day per week where they are all scheduled, although not all are usually working. “It’s a day where they can take vacation, or comp time,” explained Taylor. “It’s just the way the schedule falls so they get an 80-hour pay period.” That equals 10,140 hours of patrol per year.

The Chief works 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year. That equals 1,980 hours yearly.

The clerk works 20 hours weekly, for 1,040 hours.

That is 13,160 hours of law enforcement accountable to the City. Last year’s police budget came in at $681,190. The 2014-2015 budget is projected at $685,511. (According to Chief Parent he gave back some of his budget to the city last year.)

Under the Sheriff Department proposal, option 1, they would provide one patrol officer on duty at all times—24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In addition to the patrol officer, they would provide a Sergeant to work a 40-hour week. The Sergeant would provide supervision and command staff support, and work with the City leadership to establish the agenda and direction of the patrol officers. The Sergeant would also provide additional services, which could include neighborhood watch, business watch, presentations, communications to city officials, working with the schools, and some zoning enforcement.

Detective services, scientific support, record management (an $11,000 savings), management reports, IT and radio service support for mobile equipment, dispatch services ($35,537) would all be included.

Vehicle costs would be provided free of charge for the regular patrols, but the city would be responsible for the sergeant’s at $350 per month. They would provide a vehicle credit for the current police cruisers.

All uniforms, equipment, supervision, liability and training costs would be provided at no additional charge. Cars and uniforms could look the way that Cedar Springs wants them.

The patrol officer would provide 8,760 hours of straight patrol. The sergeant would provide the same amount of hours as the Chief—1,980.

While it appears to be less patrol hours, according to the Sheriff, they would actually provide 338 hours of more patrol time, because the detective bureau would compensate for approximately 16 percent of the city officer’s patrol time—the time they spend following up on investigations for felonies, warrant processing, and other follow up. Based on 2013 calls for service, that would equal 1,718 hours of service.

Clerical support would be provided at no charge and would include things like sex offender registration, gun permits, records checks, freedom of information reports, etc. Clerical support is available in Grand Rapids or at the north substation. The part time clerk that works two days a week could be at the north substation, or possibly relocated to Cedar Springs City Hall.

This entire option would cost $560,384, a potential savings over last year of $120,806.

Option 2, would be exactly the same, except instead of a sergeant to provide supervision, they would provide a community policing deputy. The deputy would provide the other services such as neighborhood watch, business watch, working with city officials, schools, etc. That option would be $548,306 per year.

While it looks like the Sheriff proposal would be a savings, there is also the human element to consider. All of the city’s full time officers—six of them, several with 10 to 14 years of service—would all have to reapply for their jobs.

“The Council has to decide what the current officers bring to the community,” said Taylor. “They give us a good level of coverage, similar to what the Sheriff proposed, but double coverage between 9 p.m. and 3 a.m. These are officers that have made a commitment to the community—they work here because they want to be here. They know the community, and that’s very important in law enforcement. And people know them. How do you quantify that? They’ve made a commitment and are very dedicated. That’s not saying anything against any deputy; we just don’t have the certainty that they would be here any longer than a year or two. It’s difficult to imagine one being here for 14 years, like Officer Chad Potts has been.”

Taylor also noted that the current clerk is at City Hall 5 days a week to help people if an officer is not in. That might not be the case under the new options.

Another point to think about is if the Council decides to go with the Sheriff Department to save the money formerly spent on law enforcement, what will they use that money for? To lower taxes? Make road improvements? New sidewalks? Something else? “People will want to know how it’s going to impact them,” said Taylor.

He explained that the Sheriff department proposal would be a new way to provide law enforcement to the community, but he thinks the City Council needs to engage the public and find out what they want. “It’s a huge decision,” he remarked.

The Sheriff Department will have representatives at the June 12 City Council meeting at 7 p.m. to answer questions from Council. The Council is also expected to announce at that meeting a date for a special meeting just to hear comments and questions from the public on what they want.

In the meantime, you can contact City Manager Thad Taylor with comments at manager@cityofcedarsprings.org, or one of the City Council members. Just go to www.cityofcedarsprings.org, and click on council. Choose one of the names and click on it. It will give you a bio of the council member and an email address.

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Man facing animal cruelty charge


Michael Stackhouse

Michael Stackhouse

A Cedar Springs man was arrested last week for killing a cat that had wandered into his home in Cedar Springs Mobile Estates.

According to Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent, a call came into police dispatch on Monday afternoon, April 7, with the caller telling them that a cat had jumped over a partial door barrier to their mobile home on Susan Street, and then went inside home and was now fighting with their dogs. Later the caller said the cat was dead and that her husband may have killed it.

When officers investigated, they found that the man had thrown the cat into the street, in front of children and neighbors. He admitted to then stomping on the cat’s head, because it was twitching from seizures.

Police arrested Michael Patrick Stackhouse, 35, of Cedar Springs, on Wednesday, April 9 on a charge on a felony charge of animal cruelty causing death. He is also being charged as a habitual offender-3rd offense. Bond was set at $100 cash or surety, and he later bonded out.  A preliminary exam was set for Monday, April 21, at 9:45 a.m.

 

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Vandalism and arrest update


HandcuffsMore suspects have been identified in the recent graffiti vandalism in Cedar Springs, and the case has also expanded to include recovery of a stolen rifle and a spree of stealing from unlocked vehicles at night.

Besides the arrest of Cody Steven Quay, 19, and two juveniles for the most recent vandalism, another three juveniles were referred to juvenile court for their involvement in tagging and vandalizing a vehicle, some buildings, and City of Cedar Springs street signs.

According to Police Chief Roger Parent, during the investigation on tagging, Cedar Springs officers recovered a stolen assault style weapon from a 15-year-old who lived in Cedar Springs. That firearm had been stolen from a vehicle during the night in northeast Kent County. At least four other individuals have been identified as being involved with a crime spree of stealing from unlocked vehicles. The firearm and investigation was turned over to the Kent County Sheriff Department who had taken the original larceny complaints.

 

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Police Chief to retire


 

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent

By Judy Reed

 

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent announced last month that he would retire August 29, after almost 40 years in law enforcement.

He hired on as the Cedar Springs Police Chief April 15, 2008. Prior to that, he served 34 years with the Kent County Sheriff Department.

“What I’ve really enjoyed is being able to work with dedicated patrol officers who understand how important it is to provide service to the community along with police protection. Even through these tough economic times, the police officers have been given the proper equipment, training and technology to maintain a professional police department,” he noted.

He also highly commended the officers working under him.

“We have great officers. When you don’t have a lot of turnovers, and the officers like to work here, they have good relationships with the citizens—that’s really a plus. You don’t see that everywhere,” he explained.

Growing up just outside of Sparta, Parent was familiar with small towns, and said it was pretty much what he expected it would be like.  “Cedar Springs has a lot to be proud of,” he said. “I was never embarrassed to say that I was police chief in Cedar Springs,” he remarked. “My entire experience has been positive. There are a lot of nice people here. I’ve worked for two fine city managers here, and the city has good employees at city hall.”

Parent said he will be spending his free time with more recreational activities, including his twin 2-1/2-year-old grandsons.

“Roger has done a fabulous job,” said City Manager Thad Taylor. “I was and am continually impressed with his professionalism. And his customer service is outstanding. He has a keen sense of what it takes to succeed as a small town police chief and translates that to how our officers should perform. He sets a great example and will be sorely missed.”

The city is already searching for a new chief. They currently have an ad up on their website, and plan to post the ad on several professional websites as well. Taylor said they would consider both internal and external candidates. The deadline to answer the ad will be April 25, and interviews would be the week of May 12. “We hope to have a candidate identified with background check and physicals by the end of June, and extend an offer and have it accepted by the first part of July,” explained Taylor. He added that the candidate would then start in early August to have three to four weeks of working with Parent.

The Post asked Taylor if he had considered doing what the Village of Howard City recently did—merge with the county Sheriff Department to save money. Under their agreement, the officers became Sheriff deputies and administrative duties went to the county. Cedar Springs has checked into this before, but never acted on it.

“If council directed me to do it I would,” said Taylor. “There are pros and cons to going that route. I’ve not been asked by council as a whole to pursue that.”

 

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More buildings vandalized; arrests made


 

Handcuffs

 

For the third time in six weeks, business and homeowners woke up Tuesday, April 1, to find out their buildings and/or homes had been vandalized with spray paint. By late Tuesday night, early Wednesday morning, Cedar Springs Police had arrested a 19-year-old and two juveniles for the crimes.

The United States Post Office on Cherry Street, Alpha Family Center on First Street (kitty-cornered from the Post Office), Car Quest, Len Allington’s building (which houses Perry’s Place) at 90 N. Main, and the vacant building at 95 N. Main, as well as some houses on 8th Street, were all victims of defacement with graffiti. Swear words and numbers were the most common marks.

According to Police Chief Roger Parent, officers did some good police work, and narrowed down their list of suspects to include this 19-year-old Cedar Springs resident, who is homeless. When they saw him and three others walking late Tuesday night, and carrying backpacks, they stopped them and questioned them. The suspects ultimately confessed to several of the crimes.

The 19-year-old, who has not yet been arraigned, is lodged in the Kent County Jail, and could be arraigned Thursday on a charge Malicious Destruction of Property over $1,000, a felony. His name and actual charges will be released once he has been arraigned.

Chief Parent said that while defacing The Post Office is a federal offence, they would probably want it taken care of under a local ordinance.

Parent noted that the case is still under investigation.

 

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Officer Feutz takes job in Greenville


Officer Paul Feutz

Officer Paul Feutz

Officer Chris Richardson

Officer Chris Richardson

Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent announced that Officer Paul Feutz, a ten-year veteran on the force, has taken a job as a full-time public safety officer with the City of Greenville.

“Paul has always shown an interest to work for a larger police agency and was excited about going to Greenville where he can use his fire fighting skills,” explained Chief Parent. He said that Feutz would remain on the Cedar Springs Fire Department.

Officer Feutz usually worked the 3rd shift. “Paul took his role seriously and had very good work ethics, helping make the City safer,” remarked Parent. “Paul left in good standing and I wish him the very best.”

To fill the slot left by Officer Feutz, Officer Chris Richardson was promoted from part-time to full-time. Chief Parent said that Officer Richardson was hired in April 2013 and had been working another part-time law enforcement position in Grant.

“Chris will be a great addition to the police department and the transition should be seamless because Chris has been working and covering shifts over the last few months,” explained Parent. He will be working 3rd shift, 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

 

 

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The Post goes to Yellowstone


Cedar Springs Police Chief Roger Parent and his wife, Linda, recently took a trip to Yellowstone Park in Wyoming. To show his Cedar Springs pride, Roger had Linda take a photo of him with a Post in front of the east entrance. He’s even wearing his Cedar Café t-shirt.

This was Roger’s first trip to Yellowstone. He said one of the highlights of the trip was watching a mother grizzly and her three cubs chase the wolves away from their bison kill. The bison that was killed was about 300 yards off and the bears and wolves all came to within 150 yards to a small river near the paved roadway. “Between a good camera and binoculars it was interesting to watch,” he remarked. He also got some photos of a black bear that was about 40 yards away.

Thanks, Roger, for taking us with you!

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Fire Chief sworn in


Fire Chief Marty Fraser. Post photo by J. Reed.

Marty Fraser, recently selected as the new Cedar Springs Fire Chief, was sworn in at the Cedar Springs City Council meeting last week Thursday, April 12.

Police Chief Roger Parent has been serving as interim Fire Chief for the last year, with Fraser serving as Deputy Chief. Fraser is a 35-year veteran of the department and has served in various roles. He has been a first responder since 1990.

Fraser publicly thanked Parent for his help with the department and how he’s helped during this transition.

Parent thanked Fraser, too, saying his 10 months as fire chief would not have been as easy without him.

 

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