History of the Otsego County Sherriff Department

The Otsego County Sheriff's Office is a county police agency with a staff of 23 men and women. It serves and protects a county of 540 square miles from Waters north to Vanderbilt, Johannesburg west to Elmira. This is a thriving and growing community with a population of over 22,000 and is the second fastest growing county in Michigan. The 45th parallel runs through the middle of Otsego County.

The Sheriff is the chief executive officer of the Sheriff's Office, being chose by popular vote. By law, he is the chief conservator of the peace within the county and is responsible for the county jail. He is also charged with aiding the criminal courts, serving civil process, executing judgments, marine and snowmobiles laws, among other duties.

The Sheriff's Office was instituted in Michigan in 1835 and is written in the Michigan Constitution that "Every County Shall have a Sheriff". In 1877 the Sheriff's formed the Michigan Sheriff's Association that represents all 83 County Sheriffs today. The first people moved to Otsego County in 1868 for the purpose of lumbering and in about 1872, Otsego Lake Village was started; the first people moved into the Gaylord area in 1872-1874, and Gaylord was incorporated as a village in 1881. The Otsego County Sheriff's Office has been serving the citizens of Otsego County with pride and dedication since 1875.

The badge has six points, each point represents one of the tenets that make up the ideology of the Sheriff's Office: character, courtesy, courage, honor, integrity and knowledge. Each member of the Sheriff's Office wears their badge with pride!

Our motto, "Committed to Courtesy and Excellence" states the essential purpose of the Otsego County Sheriff's Office. This office is committed to constantly providing the highest possible quality police service and protection to the citizens and visitors to Otsego County. We believe in and utilize a law enforcement service delivery system that is community and employee based.

Basic Duties:

Starting in the 1800's the duties of the Sheriff's Office have been mandated by law. Those duties include: to operate a jail which holds prisoners arrested within the county, provide basic police services to the various villages and Townships within the county.

Today the duties of the Sheriff's Office far exceed those of the past.. Listed below are the various divisions of the office:

Road Patrol, Detective, Evidence Tech, Corrections, Marine, Snowmobile, Civil Process, Bailiff, ERT, Dive Team.

Previous Otsego County Sheriffs

Years in Office      Sheriff
 
1875-1876            Samuel Livingston (First Sheriff)
1877-1878            Henry Parker
1879-1882            Albert M. Hilton
1883-1884            Joseph Stafford
1885-1886            Albert M. Hilton
1887-1888            Chester C. Mitchell
1889-1892            Frank Buell
1893-1896            Riley Manes
1897-1898            Reuben Caister
1899-1900            Dexter K. Mitchell
1901-1904            Thomas Hartwell
1905-1908            George A. Cook
1909-1912            George A. Durfee
1913-1916            Archie B. Culliton
1917-1920            Ben J. Hecox
1921-1922            Charles M. Menzies
1923-1924            Archie B. Culliton
1925-1932            George A. Durfee
1933-1946            Jacob M. “Doc” Deadman
1947-1980            Ralph Joseph Holewinski *
1981-1986            Robert W Dowker (1)
1986-1988            Nicholas J. “Nick” Westra (2)
1989-1992            Paul Schultz
1993-1998            Donald W. Anderson
1998-2012            James D. McBride (3)
2013-Present         Matthew Nowicki
 
(1) Resigned May 10, 1986 (Health)
(2) Appointed May 10, 1986 to serve to Dec 31, 1986. Elected to serve Jan 1, 1987 to Dec 31, 1988
(3) Appointed to fill term. Previously served as Sheriff of Iosco County, 1985-1992
(*) Prisoner of War during World War II.