Kent County appoints first female sheriff

Posted at 4:08 PM, Sep 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-27 16:08:20-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Kent County has named its new sheriff.

Undersheriff Michelle LaJoye-Young will take over as head of the sheriff’s department starting November 1 to fill the term of Sheriff Larry Stelma, who is retiring.  Stelma announced his retirement in August.

LaJoye-Young will be the first woman to serve as sheriff for Kent County.

LaJoye-Young was chosen unanimously by a mandated three-person committee comprised of Kent County Chief Probate Judge David Murkowski, Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, and Kent County Clerk Lisa Posthumus-Lyons.  Kent County Sheriff Lt. Marc Burns had also applied for the position.

“The committee appreciates both candidates’ interest in the position and their commitment to law enforcement,” said Judge Murkowski in a press release. “Lt. Burns has served the Kent County Sheriff’s Department well and has an impressive resume. However, today it is an honor for the committee to appoint Undersheriff LaJoye-Young to the position of Kent County Sheriff. She possesses an unparalleled knowledge of the operation and procedures of the Sheriff’s Department, having worked in every division and served in every rank in the Department. Furthermore, the Undersheriff enjoys wide-based community support and commands the respect of every law enforcement agency across the state of Michigan and beyond. She has demonstrated throughout her career a great capacity and ability to lead and possesses an unwavering enthusiasm for the administration of justice. The fact Michelle LaJoye-Young will serve as the first female Sheriff for Kent County serves as the perfect exclamation point to a truly momentous day.”

LaJoye-Young will serve out Stelma’s term, which runs through 2020. To continue in office, she’ll have to win election in November 2020.