Crawford County Sheriff Office ends year with charitable community events

Challenges in 2021 included staffing shortages and dealing with methamphetamine issues
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office ended its 2022 on a positive note following a few fun and charitable community events, but the department continued to face staffing shortages throughout the year, and methamphetamine use continues to be a serious issue for the area.
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office underwent a leadership change late in the year. Undersheriff Ryan Swope took over as the new sheriff in October of 2022 following the retirement of Sheriff Shawn M. Kraycs.
Swope said the department knew early in the year that Kraycs was intending to retire and Kraycs helped to make it a smooth transition.
“The office as a whole was preparing for that change,” Sheriff Swope said.
Swope said the department – like many employers in the state – had to battle through staff shortages and lack of qualified applicants during the last year.
“All of 2022 we’ve battled with personnel issues. It’s just difficult to find workers,” Sheriff Swope said. “Like a lot of businesses, we’re trying to do the best with what we have.”
Sheriff Swope said the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office has a “great group” of full-time and part-time employees. Swope said the department is “trying to come up with new ideas on how to make our employees happy” so they “enjoy coming to work.” 
“The job is stressful in itself. When you add low employee numbers, extra work, and just the added stress of the job in today’s world, it’s difficult,” Sheriff Swope said. “On a positive note we have a great team at the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office. I’m very proud of every one of them and thankful for their dedication.”
Sheriff Swope said the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office responded to 3,811 calls in 2022: 427 in Beaver Creek Township, 361 in Frederic Township, 735 in the City of Grayling, 1,632 in Grayling Charter Township, 140 in Lovells Township, 164 in Maple Forest Township, 340 in South Branch Township, and 12 miscellaneous calls outside of the county.
Sheriff Swope said methamphetamine is “still a prominent problem” in the region and the country, and it’s getting worse because of the growing presence of fentanyl (“a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine,” according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration).
“What we’re finding is that (methamphetamine is) being laced with fentanyl, which is extremely dangerous for people with substance use disorders and first responders,” Sheriff Swope said.
Swope said fentanyl poses risk of overdose to police officers and medical personnel because it can be absorbed through the skin. 
“You can OD by touching it,” Sheriff Swope said.
(Swope said the department has rubber gloves for personnel in order to decrease the risks.)
Sheriff Swope said the early months of the year include a lot of meetings and planning for the many events that happen during the rest of the year.
“Summer was very busy. Marathon went with no issues,” Sheriff Swope said.
Swope said the department also tried to provide security during Camp Grayling expansion proposal meetings and elections in 2022.
“We made it a point to stop by each polling station, just checking in and making sure there weren’t any issues,” Sheriff Swope said.
The department participated in a variety of fundraisers and community events in 2022.
The annual Kirk A. Wakefield Golf Outing – held at the Grayling Country Club in June – raised thousands of dollars for the department’s youth programs.
In August, the Guns and Hoses softball game – Sheriff’s Department personnel vs. local firefighters – gathered donations for the Crawford AuSable School District Viking Pantry. (The event raised more than $7,000, plus food items.)
“It was a good team-building activity for our office and the fire department, I believe,” Sheriff Swope said.
On September 11, some members of the Sheriff’s Department attended the Grayling Rotary Club/Grayling Promotional Association First Responder Salute at Camp Grayling. Sheriff Swope said members of the department who attended appreciated the recognition.
“They were very grateful for that,” Sheriff Swope said.
The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office conducted its Cops For Kids Christmas tree sale in November and December. The event helped to raise money for the Shop With A Cop program, which “provided 18 kids with a better Christmas,” Sheriff Swope said.
In mid-December, Crawford County Sheriff’s Office personnel joined Grayling Police Department officers and state police troopers to play basketball against Grayling Middle School 8th graders during the third annual Cops vs. Kids game, an event that gathered donations for the Viking Pantry.

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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