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Sheriff's Corner: Respect and family environment leads to a successful Sheriff's Department

Leading up to doing this editorial, I had contemplated on a couple different topics. An incident
in March made my choice clear. There aren’t many career fields that are so closely related to
being on a sports team as law enforcement. This was never more evident than during our
arrest of a felony probationer showing the true team and family aspect that drew me to this
career.


A deputy from our office conducted a traffic stop on a subject that was wanted by the 49th
Circuit Court Probation / Parole Office. The traffic stop took place at the Dollar General, in
Green Township. The deputy contacted the probationer who was driving the vehicle.


A second deputy arrived on scene and was at the passenger side of the vehicle as the primary
deputy was speaking with the driver and had advised him that he needed him to step from the
vehicle, as his Michigan Department of Corrections Agent wanted him taken into custody for
being in violation of his felony probation. The driver disregarded the order, threw the car into
reverse, and attempted to flee, striking the deputy, knocking him to the ground, and then
hitting the patrol car. The lone passenger in the car, attempted to get the driver to stop, yelling
at him to stop and then throwing the vehicle in park and pulled out the keys – throwing them
from the vehicle.


The suspect then fled on foot, running toward Northland Dr. The deputy who was struck, was
able to get up and pursue the suspect. The suspect was blocked from running across Northland
Dr. by a responding / assisting detective who was with the suspect’s probation officer. The
detective, probation officer and deputy were able to then get the suspect into handcuffs. The
suspect continued to resist arrest while being patted down and attempted to be secured in a
patrol car.


As a result of the call, and a call for backup by the assisting deputy on scene, multiple law
enforcement units, from both the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office and Big Rapids Department
of Public Safety, responded to the area. The law enforcement officers on scene attempted to
secure the 29-year-old male.


The suspect continued resisting after being taken to the ground to control him. Once on the
ground, the suspect was put in a seated recovery position where he continued resisting and
then attempted to grab an assisting officer’s weapon. The suspect was restrained and was then
attempted to be put in a patrol car. The suspect continued resisting and while attempting to
get him into the patrol car, head-butted the rear window breaking out the window and injuring
himself.


Deputies were able to get the suspect into a patrol vehicle where he was taken to the hospital.
Due to the male’s past and present violent behavior with law enforcement, several MCSO and
BRDPS stood by with the male while he received his medical care, so he could be cleared to be
lodged at the jail.

 

We all realized how fortunate we were that the incident was handled in the tactically sound
and professional manner it was, that helped lead to the safe and positive outcome we had. We
are also fortunate to have one another’s back and to be unified, no matter of the color of our
uniforms, in serving and protecting our community.


Since being in office at the MCSO, we have looked upon and treated our members of the
department as being family members, and the fact we are a team. This means not only the
road personnel, but our corrections, and support staff too. Just like any other team, everyone
has a role for us to be successful. Our family is not just our office but extends out to the other
first responders we work with, local and nationally.


You often hear law enforcement, and first responders speak of family when referring to one
another. Our family goes beyond the men and women who wear the uniforms. They are also
the significant others and their children. These are the family members who sacrifice having a
loved one who chose a career to serve the public.  It is these family members who are not able
to have their loved one present on a holiday or special occasion. These men and women who
have chosen a career in public service often know they will miss a lot of personal family
moments or milestones. Like being called away from their child’s birthday celebration, missing
a sporting event with family, or canceling a family trip due to their work schedule. The list goes
on.


Being a law enforcement officer or in the first responder field has nothing to do with being
friends and buddies.  It’s respect and admiration for one another. It means working hard for the
family unit, doing things the right way, and holding each other accountable for our actions.  Not
only for our primary family but, our extended families too.  That is what a law enforcement,
first responder family is about.


This family doesn’t just include our present members but extends out to those who came
before us. Something always important to me is to respect those who came before us, or who I
had a chance to work with who have since moved on in their lives. The history that led our
agency to be what it is today needs to be respected and remembered. It has made me very
happy to have past employees of the MCSO feel comfortable enough to stop in and just say
“hi”.


Nowhere has the idea of family been more evident than, in the past year, Undersheriff Williams
and I meeting with a former MCSO Administrator.  We began meeting weekly after we reached
out to him inquiring on him consulting the two of us on the administrative roles we had and to
aid us as in broadening our perspective on what was needed, to guide our agency as we move
into the future. This person and his wife were a mentor to Mike as he began his career in law
enforcement over 20 years, with the two of them being the same to my wife and I both
professionally and personally. We still consider them part of our MCSO Family.

 

This takes me back to the arrest leading to this editorial. The law enforcement family can be a
complex and dysfunctional one at times. We don’t always love or get along with one another.
We have differences and disagreements, sometimes heated and drawn out. In the end though,
when in times of trouble we always come together to cover one another’s 6.


With National Corrections Officer Week and National Police Week both taking place this month,
despite the current state of law enforcement, I am optimistic about the future of policing in the
United States. The level of cooperation, sophistication, and professionalism has never been
higher, here in Mecosta County, and in our country. Our job is an honorable one, with law
enforcement battles day-after-day, hour-after-hour, requiring us to give our very best and
continually fight for what we believe in. The sacrifices that our family make is not in vain. To
protect and serve the community we all took an oath to work for and with. Family working
with family as a team to make this the safest community it can be.


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