A job well done, Sheriff

October 28, 2013
Sheriff Kim Cole

Sheriff Kim Cole

Our View. An editorial by Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.

In the wake of the recent tragic events Mason County has seen in the past several months, I feel I need to take a moment and give a little shout out. Every single one of our emergency personnel deserves praise for what they do. I have nothing but the utmost respect for every single police officer, firefighter, medical first responder, EMT, paramedic, emergency dispatcher and Red Cross volunteer. These folks are on the front lines 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, keeping us safe, saving lives.

Sheriff Kim Cole

Sheriff Kim Cole

But, there is one person who I feel deserves some special recognition. Throughout all of these recent tragedies there has been one person who stands out and that is Sheriff Kim Cole. The sheriff has not only earned the trust and respect of his office’s personnel and other local emergency service personnel, but I believe he has also earned the respect of the public.

As a news person, I have been nothing but impressed with the high level of professionalism Sheriff Cole has displayed during his tenure, especially during recent events. During multiple emergency incidences the sheriff has been present on the scene, assisting investigators, consoling victims and speaking with the media.

I first observed this following a fatal car crash on Benson Road in Branch Township in June. At 3 in the morning, the sheriff – a highly trained crash scene investigator – was helping at the scene. He then took time to provide me with information to inform the public of what happened. Since that time, he has been present on many other scenes.

Sheriff Cole, right, and Oceana County Sheriff Bob Farber, left, lead their personnel during Butterfield's funeral.

Sheriff Cole, right, and Oceana County Sheriff Bob Farber, left, lead their personnel during Butterfield’s funeral.

When the sheriff isn’t on the scene, he has given authority to the duty sergeants to speak with the media. Again, unprecedented and greatly appreciated. Cole told me that it’s important that the public know what law enforcement is doing. Open communications with the media just seems like a no-brainer. Taking it a step further, the sheriff’s office started a Facebook page to keep the public informed as well.

It’s not just Cole’s cooperation with the media that has impressed me. It’s been his leadership.

The tragic events of the shooting of Michigan State Police Trooper Paul Butterfield showed what kind of leader this man is. The first law enforcement on the scene were Mason County sheriff’s deputies. Within a short time after the incident unfolded, the sheriff and his leadership team were also present. He sat with Trooper Butterfield, holding his hand, consoling him, as he lie in the back of an ambulance, waiting for the helicopter to arrive.

Later that week, Sheriff Cole gathered his personnel at the sheriff’s office prior to driving as a group up to Manistee. In a circle he spoke to them the way a leader speaks to his men (and women). With authority and respect, he reassured them and instilled a level of pride that only a leader can do.

A couple weeks ago, our family was violated. Crooks broke into my brother and my stepmother’s businesses. Not only have detectives and deputies been on the job, but the sheriff personally came out to speak to my family members. He assured them that his people were on the job and the conclusion would be the conviction of those who committed the crime.

On Friday morning, 11-year-old Garrett Lake lost his life in a single vehicle crash on an icy U.S. 10 in Branch Township. His 16-year-old sister was severely injured and flown by helicopter to a Grand Rapids hospital. Their 13-year-old sister, McKenna, was also injured. Further, the victims were the children of a Branch Township firefighter. Both Sheriff Cole and Undersheriff Jody Hartley were on the scene, providing the leadership we have now all come to expect.

Thank you Sheriff Cole and to everyone at the Mason County Sheriff’s Office for keeping us safe and informed.

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