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Tag Archive | "Sgt. Jason Kelley"

Welcome, Sgt. Todd Probst


Sgt. Todd Probst is the new supervisor of the Cedar Springs Unit of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

Have you seen this smiling face around town yet? It’s Sgt. Todd Probst, the new supervisor of the Cedar Springs Unit of the Kent County Sheriff’s Office. Probst took over last week after Sgt. Jason Kelley took a job in the detective bureau.

Probst grew up in Lowell, a town he said is similar to Cedar Springs, and graduated from Lowell High School in 1989. After high school, he worked full time and attended Grand Rapids Community College and graduated from the police academy in 1994. He was then hired by the Lowell Police Department where he worked part time from 1994-95, and was then hired by the Kent County Sheriff’s Office in January of 1996 as a road patrol deputy.

While working as a deputy, he worked in many different areas. Jobs he held included: Road patrol deputy in various areas across the county; Field training officer; TAC team member (Tactical apprehension and confrontation team); traffic and safety deputy; and as a community policing deputy, where he helped establish the Shop with a Sheriff program.

Probst was promoted to Sergeant in 2004, and worked with Road patrol and Park police. In 2013 he began work as a detective sergeant. Until his move to Cedar Springs, he was the Family Services Unit Supervisor, where he supervised detectives in the unit; Children’s Assessment Center; Warrants; Friend of the Court; and was liaison with three in-house Child Protective/Adult Protective Service Workers. He also was on the Presidential Motorcade Detail.

What was attractive about moving to the Cedar Springs Unit? “I was looking for a new opportunity, and it has a small-town atmosphere like I grew up in,” he said with a smile. “Being Cedar’s Sergeant is almost like being chief of a small town.”

Probst noted that another attractive quality is that Cedar Springs is known for its community involvement. “It will give me an opportunity to work with the community and with city leaders—those people we serve. With my background in community policing, it’s something I enjoy,” he explained.

When the Post asked what he has been seeing in the community, Probst said he’s already seeing that community involvement firsthand. “Business leaders and citizens really seem to be vested in community,” he said.

Probst noted that he would continue to work on what was already established here by Sgt. Kelley—mainly continuing to grow a good relationship between the community and the police department. “Everyone says they enjoy having us here and they feel like they are getting great service. The deputies also enjoy getting out and meeting the community in a non-traditional role by being a member of the community themselves,” he said. “That’s not a typical opportunity for a road patrol deputy. It’s more like community policing.”

The bottom line is that Probst wants people to feel safe here. “I want to make it a safe community, where people feel safe to go, and be a police department that the community can trust,” he said.

When he is not working, Probst is busy with his three daughters and their sports activities. His oldest will play soccer at Aquinas next year; he has another that will be a sophomore next year and plays for a travel soccer team; and has another that will be a fourth-grader next year. He said he likes all sports, but when he gets the chance, he really likes to play golf. 

What else does he want the people of Cedar Springs to know? “Everyone has been very welcoming. I’m ready to jump into this role. My door is always open. I want people to get to know me, and I want to get to know them,” he said.

Other 2018 staffing changes in the Cedar Springs Unit:

Deputy Nathan Stanton, who was a night shift Cedar Springs deputy, has been assigned as a district patrol deputy out of the north substation. Deputy Caitlin Carey will take his position as a Cedar deputy on nights. 

Deputy Ryan Wheeler, who was also a night shift Cedar Deputy, was promoted to Sergeant on May 8. Deputy Craig Holbrook will now take his place on the night shift.

Day shift deputies are Todd Frank and Pat Kent.

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Goodbye Sgt. Kelley


Sgt. Jason Kelley, formerly supervisor of the Cedar Springs unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department, has taken on a new position in the investigative division. Post photo by J. Reed.

By Judy Reed

When the Cedar Springs Police Department dissolved in 2014, and the Kent County Sheriff Department took over policing for the City of Cedar Springs in a unique partnership, many residents weren’t sure how smooth the transition would be, or what to expect. But there was one person working tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure it was everything residents expected and more—Sgt. Jason Kelley. 

Kelley has been in charge of the new Cedar Springs unit of the Kent County Sheriff Department for the last 3-1/2 years. As of this week, he took on a new assignment as Detective Sergeant with the investigative division. 

“We are both excited for and saddened by Sergeant Kelley’s promotion and departure from Cedar Springs,” said City Manager Mike Womack. “He has been a valuable asset to the community and he will be missed but we do wish him the best in his new position with the major cases unit.”

“I’ve really enjoyed working with the community, and being part of a smaller community,” remarked Kelley. “The residents have been great to work with on problem solving and any community policing efforts we’ve tried.”

As far as accomplishments, he said he feels that he and the deputies have forged a good relationship between the Sheriff Dept. and the citizens of Cedar Springs. “We have a highly visible patrol, and we’ve made contact with community members that we might not have if we had not been as visible,” he said.

Another accomplishment he’s been happy with is that of the placement of a school resource officer at Cedar Springs Public Schools. “That has been a great success,” noted Kelley.

He also feels that they have made a lot of headway into arresting and convicting those using and manufacturing narcotics. “There have been at least four or more meth labs busted. And our vice teams have cooperated so much with us here in Cedar Springs in helping us get if off the street.”

What does he think was his best accomplishment? “Somehow I’ve been able to get great deputies,” he remarked. “All who have worked here have wanted to work here. They need to be great deputies for it to work.”

The original Cedar Springs officers that trained to be Sheriff Deputies have moved on to other sectors in the county, according to Kelley, and it was their own choice. There have also been other deputies who have served here since the transition that had ties to Cedar Springs such as Deputies Jason VanDyke, Todd Frank, and Mike Tanis. Tanis is now a detective at the north substation.

Kelley said that of all the cases he’s been involved with here, one of the most memorable was the vandalism, theft, and recovery of the Timothy Brown monument. “It may not be the most significant, but it is probably the nearest and dearest to my heart because of the family and community emotions tied to it, and my ties to the veteran community,” he explained.

Kelley said one of the most important things he’s learned from his assignment here is how important it is to have buy in and cooperation from the community. “We can’t do our job without community involvement. We know that already, but when you are closer to the community, you realize that even more so.” He said the Timothy Brown monument case was a good example of that. “When we put the word out, and you publish things in the paper that we are looking for someone, people give us tips. We get that community involvement.” He added that once they give the tip, it’s also important that community members will feel safe and confident that the officers will do their job. “Citizens really play a key role in law enforcement,” he said. 

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 200-2002. 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 was also a road patrol day shift supervisor, and road patrol night shift supervisor for the Central/North sector, before coming to Cedar Springs.

Kelley was named Deputy of the year for 2014 for his success with the Cedar Springs transition, among other things. “Due to his outstanding performance, enthusiasm and work ethic, Sgt. Kelley was selected to be the Cedar Springs Unit supervisor and was instrumental in making this ‘Change of Command’ transition a huge success,” wrote Sheriff Larry Stelma at the time. 

Kelley has made a lot of friends in the community and will be missed by many. He has some mixed emotions of his own. “I’m sad to leave this assignment but excited for my new role in the investigative division,” he remarked.

On behalf of the community of Cedar Springs, The Post wishes Sgt. Kelley well on his new assignment!

Next week, we will introduce you to the new supervisor of the Cedar Springs unit, Sgt. Todd Probst. 

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Slippery roads result in crashes


This truck was one of the two involved in a crash at W. Muskegon and 6th Street Wednesday. Photo by B. Sanderson.

Slippery roads contributed to crashes all over Kent County on Wednesday, January 3. There were a multitude of slide offs, rollovers, and crashes on both the highways and local roads.

One of the crashes occurred in the City of Cedar Springs. The Kent County Sheriff Department responded to a property damage crash at W. Muskegon and 6th shortly before 10 a.m. Sgt. Jason Kelley reported that a westbound pick-up truck lost control, crossed the centerline and struck an eastbound pick-up truck. No injuries were reported. The driver of the westbound vehicle was cited for violation of basic speed law—driving too fast.

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Break-in at Cedar Chest


N-Kent-County-Sheriff-logo

The Kent County Sheriff Department is currently investigating a breaking and entering complaint that occured at The Cedar Chest, 61 N Main Street, Cedar Springs.

According to Sgt. Jason Kelley, the incident was reported on January 3. The business was closed and locked, and the suspect(s) forced open a locked door. He said a small amount of items were taken from inside.

The Kent County Sheriff Department Scientific Support Unit processed the scene for physical evidence. Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Kent County Sheriff Department at (616) 632-6100 or Silent Observer at (616) 774-2345.

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Winter parking in effect


n-winter-parking

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 created 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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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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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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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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