GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Kent County’s new sheriff was sworn into office Friday afternoon.
Michelle LaJoye-Young, the county’s first female sheriff, is taking over for the retiring Larry Stelma. LaJoye-Young has spent nearly 30 years with the Kent County Sheriff’s Department after beginning her career as a corrections officer in the jail.
She has accomplished several firsts for the county, including first female lieutenant, captain and undersheriff before being sworn in Friday.
She said her proudest moment from Friday’s ceremony was when her father, retired Shiawasee County Sheriff James LaJoye, pinned the new badge to her uniform.
LaJoye-Young is ready to get to work and is focusing on improving relations with the citizens the sheriff’s office serves.
“(The department) is becoming more and more diversified all the time, (and) so it our staff and so are our initiatives,” she said. “They expect us to be consistent and measured, but they also expect us to listen and change and move as their needs do too.”