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Tag Archive | "Sheriff Larry Stelma"

Sheriff Larry Stelma announces retirement


Kent County Sheriff Lawrence A. Stelma (right) was chosen as the first ever recipient of the Terrence L. Jungel Sheriff of the Year Award in 2017 by the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. Terrence Jungel is on the left.

 

Kent County Sheriff Larry Stelma announced last week that he will retire from his position on November 1, 2018.

“For 46 years I have had the privilege of serving this community, and I consider this privilege a gift from God,” Sheriff Stelma said as he notified the Kent County Board of Commissioners of his intent to retire November 1, 2018. While the decision to retire was difficult, the Sheriff emphasized that he is “confident that the next generation of leadership will serve this community well and bring this organization to new heights.”

Stelma began his career at the Kent County Sheriff’s Office on January 3, 1972, as a deputy working various duties in the jail and eventually transferring to the road patrol. As a detective in the investigative bureau, he was awarded the Sheriff’s Office Combat Star for his efforts to save his partner when a domestic violence suspect shot that officer in the chest in 1980. In August 1981, Stelma was promoted to sergeant on the road patrol; in 1985, he was promoted to road patrol lieutenant; and promoted to road patrol captain in January 1997. In January 1999, Stelma was appointed to serve as Kent County’s Undersheriff. On January 1, 2001, he was elected by the citizens of Kent County to serve as their Sheriff. He has since been re-elected Kent County Sheriff for five consecutive terms.

In 2017 he was named “Sheriff of the Year” by the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. Sheriff Stelma’s investment in his staff, and his strong belief in mentorship have been key elements that have developed the Kent County Sheriff’s Office into one of the most innovative and strategic departments in the country.

“It’s been a tremendous honor and privilege to work for a leader whose fundamental goal is to guide and develop his staff through mentorship. His approach to mentorship and his unwavering leadership are directly tied to the culture we are so proud of at the KCSO,” Undersheriff LaJoyeYoung said. “We will miss him dearly and we wish him all the best on his next adventure.”

In a recent staff meeting, the Sheriff was asked what he plans to do in retirement. “A whole lot more hunting and fishing,” he responded, with his famous half smile and a nod. Sheriff Stelma has submitted his intent to retire to the County Clerk, and the legislated process to appoint a replacement will be occurring once the statutorily required appointing authority has been assembled.

Stelma is a longtime Cedar Springs resident and has given back to his community in a number of ways. 

Two particular initiatives that have affected Cedar Springs include the City and Sheriff Department partnership on police services, and the school resource officer at Cedar Springs Public Schools.

Stelma was integral in the creation of the partnership between the City and the Sheriff Department in 2015, the first time anything like that had been done in Kent County. The Cedar Springs Police Department was dissolved, and the full-time officers were offered jobs at the Kent County Sheriff Department, and a chance to serve in Cedar Springs. Sgt. Jason Kelley oversaw the Cedar Springs Unit until earlier this year, until Sgt. Todd Probst took over. The unit works out of the former police area at City Hall.

Cedar Springs was not the first public school to employ a Kent County Sheriff Deputy as a school resource officer, but the Sheriff Department did partner with the district to help fund the program. SROs work to improve school safety by investigating school-related incidents and take a proactive approach to improve the security of the campus, staff, and students.

Thank you, Sheriff Stelma, for your service, and the Post wishes you a happy retirement!

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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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City approves contract with Sheriff Dept


N-pull-quoteBy Judy Reed

 

This time next month, officers in the Cedar Springs Police Department will be wearing Kent County Sheriff Department uniforms.

The Cedar Springs City Council voted unanimously Thursday evening, October 9, to approve a contract with the Kent County Sheriff Department for police services. Council member Jerry Hall was absent, and Council member Ashley Bremmer asked to abstain, since she is employed by the Sheriff Department.

Undersheriff Jon Hess and Chief Deputy Michele Young were on hand to explain the contract and answer questions from the council. Sheriff Larry Stelma was also there, as was Sgt. Kelley, who will be the transition sergeant and most likely the supervising sergeant once the transition takes place.

Young said she expects the savings to the City to be about $119,000 for 2015. She explained that by using the township pool, their costs would be lower, since there will be 34 officers in the pool. Our five would make up about 15 percent of that. “They are joining us at a mid-range (on the pay scale),” explained Young. “That’s a minor raise for them. But with the pool you won’t see those high spikes.”

Kent County Sheriff DeptThe five full-time officers were given welcome packets, which also contained an application. The Sheriff Dept. hopes to give them an offer of employment by the end of this week. The target starting date is November 7. Those officers will stay in the Cedar Springs unit unless they decide they want to move elsewhere. Many residents did not want to lose their officers, and with the offer for the full time officers to stay here, residents will still see familiar faces. 

While the part time officers don’t get that same offer, Undersheriff Hess said they have a lot of part time positions open. “We have some openings we have purposely kept open in case they want to apply,” he explained. He also mentioned that there are opportunities for the reserves as well.

The Cedar Springs unit will use the current Cedar Springs Police offices at City Hall. Officers will begin and end their day there. The sergeant will be there daily, five days a week, and serve as the supervising officer for the patrol deputies. A sector lieutenant will also give oversight to the unit.

There will be on deputy on patrol each 12-hour shift. If Cedar Springs decides they need to add a deputy for a short time period, they can do that, but there would be a charge.

The officers will enforce all the city ordinances, like they do now, as well as all other laws. They will also respond to private property accidents, help unlock cars, and respond anytime an officer is requested, the same way they do now. Those were some things Cedar Springs specifically asked for.

All police equipment will be turned over to the KCSD and used for half of the allocation costs. The other half are being waived for the 5-year agreement.

The agreement can be rescinded anytime with 60 days notice.

The city and the Sheriff Department have worked on this agreement for several months. The City Council asked the City Manager to look into possibly contracting with the Sheriff Department after Police Chief Roger Parent announced his retirement earlier this year.

The City thanks our police officers for their years of dedication to the community, their patience and understanding during this difficult time and most importantly, wishes them well going forward,” said City Manager Thad Taylor.

This is the first time anything like this has been done in Kent County.

“The city manager and the city council took a bold, innovative and progressive step as they seek to collaborate with the Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement services,” said Sheriff Larry Stelma, who also lives here in Cedar Springs. “I thank them for the trust and faith that they have placed with us and we look forward to serving the Cedar Springs community.”

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