Deputy with decade and a half of service at the Crawford County Sheriffs Office promoted to serve as undersheriff
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A new era of leadership was launched last week at the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office.
Detective Sgt. Ryan Swope was promoted to become the new undersheriff at the sheriff’s office. He replaces Randy Herman, who has served as the undersheriff for the last year and a half. Herman, who retired for a second time on Friday, June 19, previously served 27 years with the sheriff’s office in a number of positions.
Besides being born at the Otsego Memorial Hospital in Gaylord, Swope has spent his whole life in Grayling. He is a 2002 Grayling High School graduate.
Swope earned his associate’s degree in criminal justice from Kirtland Community College, and graduated from the Kirtland Regional Police Academy in 2004.
While completing his studies, Swope served as a marine patrol officer for the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office for two years and served one winter on the snowmobile patrol.
Swope was hired to serve as a road patrol deputy when a millage was passed in 2005 to restore the midnight road patrol.
He was assigned to the Strike Investigative Narcotics Team (STING) in 2010, and held an undercover position with the team for a year and a half when funding was pulled.
After working on the road, Swope served as the school resource officer for a couple of years.
In May 2015, Swope was promoted to serve as the detective sergeant when John McDonald retired.
Crawford County Sheriff Shawn M. Kraycs and the late Sheriff Kirk A. Wakefield had considered putting Swope as the second in command at the sheriff’s office for a number of years.
The sheriff’s office has spent training funds on Swope by sending him to leadership schools.
“You kind of want to set the foreground and build a solid leadership base,” Kraycs said.
Swope said he is ready to take a step up on the career ladder for the benefit of the community.
“It’s humbling and I’m nervous and I think if I wasn’t nervous there would be something wrong,” he said. “The world is a scary place right now, and I’m just hoping to do my part to make Crawford County, the State of Michigan, and the United States of America a better place.”
The son of Gail and Tim Swope, Ryan said his parents taught him to have a love for his country.
“As I’ve gotten older, I have truly fallen in love with Crawford County and its residents, and the community, and I have really enjoyed trying to make it a better place,” he said.
Ryan and his wife, Jen, a Grayling High School teacher, have two children, Vander, age 4, and Maisie age 2.
Earlier this year, Swope received the Kirk Wakefield Service Member Of The Year 2019 Award from the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce.
The new award was established to honor Wakefield, who retired on December 3, 2018 after holding the office of sheriff for 17 years. He was the longest serving sheriff in the history of Crawford County.
Wakefield was recognized with the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Award on March 1, 2019.
Wakefield passed away at his home on Tuesday, April 16, 2019. He was 68.
Swope was also recognized with the Kirk A. Wakefield Award of Excellence, another new award at the sheriff’s office, for his service to the community.
The undersheriff runs the day to day sheriff’s office operations, including human resources, working with the jail administrator, dealing with the public, and coordinating getting vehicles maintained.
Kraycs said he has confidence that Swope has the personality, ability, and knowledge to assume the position through the personal relationships he has established in the community.
“He’s ready to make what we do here better,” Kraycs said.
Swope will juggle both the undersheriff and detective roles for the time being until he and Kraycs can sit down and discuss future personnel changes.