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Redefining ‘serve and protect’

ROSCOMMON – Blue or red lights appearing in your rear-view mirror, or a police officer visiting a home, may be an ominous sign to some. The Roscommon County Sheriff Department and staff, however, are working to dispel that viewpoint. 

The objective of “protect and serve” are upper most in the minds of Sheriff Edward Stern, deputies and staff of the department.

Stern and the Roscommon County Sheriff’s staff work with several organizations and volunteers to redirect individuals in crisis who want or need help, toward available entities and programs. Sheriff Stern, Under Sheriff Ben Lowe, Community Policing Officer Bill Rude, Deputy Emilie Pelleran, and Deputy Zrebski and others participate in a host of community service initiatives and programs.

Recently, the department, along with the Victims Service Unit, Sheriff’s Auxiliary, State Police, and CERT, performed a Child ID service in local schools for nearly 600 children K-2nd grade. This program provides parents/guardians with DNA and fingerprints of their child in case of an abduction or other emergency. The packets are given to parents for their safe keeping, and none of the information is retained by any agency or the schools.

Roscommon County Sheriff’s Road Patrol and Law Enforcement services

Shall the expired previously voted increases in the tax limitation imposed under Article IX, Sec. 6 of the Michigan Constitution in the County of Roscommon, of 1.5000 mill ($1.50 per $1000.00 of taxable value), and reduced to 1.4860 mills ($1.4860 of $1000.00 of taxable value) by the required millage rollbacks, be increased at 1.5000 mills ($1.50 per $1000.00 of taxable value) and levied for a period of 4 years, 2022 through 2025 inclusive, to operate and maintain twenty four hour Roscommon County Sheriffs Road Patrol and Law Enforcement related services, raising an estimated $2,155,069.00 in the first year the millage is levied?

Sheriff Edward Stern
Sheriff Edward Stern

The Victims Service Unit may be called out to help direct victims to whatever help they may need when there has been a house fire, suicide, drowning or other sudden death situation, these volunteers are trained to assist victims and survivors. Members of that unit assisted residents at the recent Brooks Retirement Home fire. The Victims Service Unit is made up of a group of volunteers, under the direction of Under Sheriff Lowe.

Officers also work with county schools doing reading programs, Teaching Awareness Sharing Knowledge (TASK), and as school Safety Officers. TASK is a seven-week program for 5th graders, helping them learn how to deal with situations they may encounter, including: good decision making, peer pressure, internet safety such as social media, or posting photos. The program is similar do the DARE program, but it goes beyond drugs, dealing with areas these young people are more likely to encounter. 

Along with public donations, and in conjunction with the school safety committee, the Roscommon Sheriff’s Department has also provided BOOTS for classroom doors. Currently, a Safety Officer/Liaison is posted at Houghton Lake Schools. Some years ago, this service had also been in Roscommon schools. Sheriff Stern and the Under Sheriff “would love to be able to again provide this service to Roscommon schools.”

Programs within the department are funded by the road patrol mileage and community donations. Community donations and support is always welcomed by the department. That millage is up for renewal (see inset).

Sheriff Stern and many of the deputies are instructors of the Police Academy at Kirtland Community College. They believe that program has been very beneficial to Roscommon County and surrounding communities in acquiring and retaining quality, service-oriented personnel. 

Stern has served on the force for 29 years and Sheriff seven years. Married to wife Angie for 27 years, they have two children.

Stern stated that they try to instill in the officers, that “we work for the people,” to protect and serve. Everyone in the department has a role, and everyone has at least one job. They all live within the community and are active outside the office as well.

In addition to 26 officers and staff, the department also utilizes nearly a dozen volunteers on both the Victims Service Unit and the Sheriff’s Auxiliary. 

There is always a need for additional volunteers. If interested in becoming a part of one of the units, or for more information regarding a specific program, please contact Undersheriff Ben Lowe or Deputy Emilie Pelleran at 989-275-5101.

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