Crawford County Sheriff Kirk A. Wakefield set to retire in December after 40 years in law enforcement
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A panel of county officials will meet next week to determine the future leadership for the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
Crawford County Sheriff Kirk A. Wakefield has submitted his letter of resignation to county officials. His retirement day is Monday, Dec. 3.
Monte J. Burmeister, the chief judge of Probate and District Court for Crawford County, County Clerk Sandra Moore, and Prosecuting Attorney Sierra R. Koch are scheduled to meet at 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, at the Crawford County Courthouse to determine Wakefield’s successor. The meeting is open to the public.
Wakefield has two years left on his term, which ends in 2020.
The process of replacing appointed county officials is set by state statute.
“They technically don’t have to meet, and by default the undersheriff assumes that role,” said Crawford County Administrator Paul Compo.
Wakefield started his career in law enforcement in 1978 at the Howell Police Department in Livingston County. He worked there until late 1982, when he was laid off.
After submitting applications all over the place, Wakefield was hired in 1983 as a deputy for the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office. He worked his way up through ranks. He then took a leave of absence, and went to work for the Grayling Police Department in 1992, where he worked for four years.
Wakefield was hired by Crawford Sheriff David G. Lovely in 1996 to serve as his undersheriff. In February 2002, he was appointed sheriff. Lovely also retired in the middle of his term.
Wakefield ran for reelection four times and has been unopposed.
Over the last 20 years, Wakefield has served as the commander of the Northern Michigan Mutual Aid Emergency Response Team, a SWAT team that responds to emergencies throughout the region.
Wakefield said it is simply his time to go after serving in law enforcement for four decades.
“I’m 68 years old, and it’s a young man’s game,” he said. “I’m tired. I’ve given 40 years of my life to serving the citizens of Michigan 110 percent – my heart, my mind, and my soul. I need some time for myself and for my family.”
Wakefield will remain involved in the community. He is a board member for the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce, a Master Mason at the Grayling Masonic Lodge #356, is an AuSable Shrine Club member, and on the board of directors for the Northern Michigan Law Enforcement Training Group.
“I’m still going to involved locally,” he said.
Wakefield is recommending that Undersheriff Shawn M. Kraycs serve out the rest of his term.
“Over the past 17 years, we’ve built a very competent team in the sheriff’s office that will continue to grow with our community and serve the citizens of Crawford County with the highest level of honor, integrity, and professionalism,” Wakefield said. “Shawn brings with him over 27 years of law enforcement experience and a very accomplished career in the military.”