GH officer investigated

Some friendly bantering between two police officers allegedly went a little too far last month during a shift change at the Grand Haven Department of Public Safety.
Becky Vargo
Oct 17, 2012


One officer spent a day on administrative leave after the incident, but came back to work and is still working now that an investigation into the incident is complete.

A letter sent to media by an anonymous source claimed that officers were joking around with Officer Todd DeVries early in the morning of Sept. 29, when DeVries reacted to some teasing and allegedly kicked another officer in the groin.

“The kick was hard enough to cause (the other officer) severe pain and brought tears to his eyes,” the letter said.

The letter also claimed DeVries pulled out a pistol, removed some bullets and showed his co-workers a bullet on which was written the name of the officer he kicked.

“DeVries has been known to have other fellow officers’ names written on bullets in his gun,” the letter noted.

When shown the letter, Grand Haven Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke responded with a statement acknowledging that there was a situation that “involved an internal matter between employees and did not impact or involve service to the public.”

“Action regarding a personnel issue was initiated on Sept. 29, 2012,” Hawke said. “The situation was thoroughly investigated and appropriate steps are being taken through the personnel management process.”

When asked about specifics in the letter, the findings of the investigation and what personnel action was taken, Hawke declined further comment.

The director also declined to comment when asked if officers’ names were written on bullets.

Hawke did say that all officers are working their regular schedules and that the officer mentioned in the letter “is regularly employed.”





If an officer has a bullet in his gun with someones name on it... He isn't fit to be an officer and need help NOW.


@Boater AGREE! This guy should have his gun taken from him as well. If I lived within the city limits and needed a police officer I would not want this man to arrive at my door.


I agree with you, The citizens of GH probably would NOT be given a concealed carry permit if we had done what this officer has done. GH sure has it's share of problems with public safety. Maybe a shake up is in order???


Went to school with this guy and he got along with the kids on the playground so to speak. He was a pretty mellow kid. This is also the same person that called the police on his own wife for domestic abuse, who is also a officer, a couple years ago. I agree with Boater

Say No To Tourist's

He may have been mellow as a kid, but he did grow up differantly. Plus his ex whooped him!


What I want to know is why these cops get off with very little penalty. If it were a civilian that did this, they would throw the book at them. You have the two that get drunk and beat the snot out of each other. They are both back on the department. They should have been fired and thrown in jail. Anyone else would have been thrown in jail and had a record. These two nitwits get rewarded by getting their jobs back. Sick of hearing the department protecting "their own". They aren't above the law and shouldn't be allowed to act like they are. They are the very same ones arresting people that break the law. Yet they get to break the law and get off free.


If two neighbors were joking around early in the morning and one kicked the other, there would have been an arrest! The written names on bullets is he said, he said but should be investigated. If it is found to be true, he should be recommended to a shrink and determined if he is fit to be a police officer.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained libelous or defamatory statements. Discussion Guidelines


Isn't this the same police officer who called the police on his own wife (also a police officer)? Now he is supposedly kicking other police officers in the groin and writing names on bullets? A lot of the actions made by officers are made with discretion...this appears to be something lacking in this "officer" and I would hope that he is being thoroughly examined. One must wonder what other bad decisions are being made...I completely agree with ghmomma and boater....well said!


These are the same arrogant thugs that are suppose to set an example and protect our children. Its time for Grand Haven to hold these criminals accountable.

How can any police reports filed by these untrustworthy individuals be considered integral?

I am disgusted by the rampant abuse of power!

Writing another officers name on a tax payer issued bullet? Is this really something that needs to be discussed?

Jail him immediately, before the citizens take back Justice!!


Once again our tiny community has to deal with police officer issues. We bring in a new Chief and what do the citizens of GH get...the same crap. This guy needs to be put in for evaluation to see if he's even fit to be police officer. Our Mayor and City Manager should be very concerned. The city council should haul the police chief up into a meeting and get some explanations. If I had bullets with peoples names on it I would be hauled in for some serious questioning and If I kicked some guy in the nuts thats called assault and would be hauled in and arrested for it. GH for such a small town deals with more stuff from the from bad and dirty cops.


How many "administrative leaves" had this guy had? Now assult?....and writing names on bullets? No way is this guy fit to be a police officer! I am shuttering at the thought of coming in contact with this "public safety officer"...


Only a sociopath inscribes names on bullets.

The fact he is allowed to carry a department issued firearm clearly shows the Chief and the City officials have no control in respect to discipline, or they're afraid some of the bullets contain their names.

Go to your boss and show him bullets with co-workers names inscribed upon them and see how long you last.


Another GHPS officer demonstrating his fine skills in the field of professional misconduct. Fire this idiot before he does something really bad. Names written on bullets? Kicking another officer? What kind of psychotic disorder does this officer have! I think the "IID" needs to take a peek into the GHPS.


Makes you wonder who these people really are that we pay with our tax dollars, I have herd so many bad storys about the GH city police..I just plain stay out of the downtown area they are just looking to bust you for something. and I avoid the Robbins road area as well,they like to set up speed traps their. And on my way to work this morning a city cop was siting with a speed trap in a driveway of an home were no one lives on the east end were it turnes from Mercury Dr to waverley and the speed dropes from 45 to 25 and the road go's down a hill..come on do we really need this harassment when we are trying to go to work or bring our kids to school..they just love to set these speed traps up on the East end of town in the 25 mpr areas..and we all know what it is about..,MONEY.The out of town people make the joke..come to Grand Haven on vacation and leave on probation.


We have many fine officers but the bad ones seem to stay and garner publicity. We MUST HOLD THE NEW CHIEF ACCOUNTABLE. Everyone needs to contact the mayor, city council, city manager and complain and say enough is enough!! How do you explain this to the kids, again? Everyone call the mayor and demand change and demand accountability!!!


sounds like you need to slow down and your paranoid observation of police cars will stop. Tell the family of a child killed by someone speeding how important speed limit signs are. I'm sure there is a sign well in advance of the "hill" you refer to that tells you to slow down to 25. Personally an officer giving a speeding ticket to someone speeding is NOT harrassment: just doing their job. Maybe you should stop listening to "stories about GH city police" as you said and understand what is reality. I just have to laugh at these comments...woo shot to bash a police officer time. Sad state we live in today.


we call that house on Waverly the 'Police Station' because they sit there so much. They might as well buy that house and make it a substation. I would fight any ticket I got on that road, as they haven't done the study required by Public Act 85 of 2006, which would surely raise the limit there.

From the NMA website on fighting a speeding ticket in Michigan: Speeding is a civil infraction in Michigan. There has been significant change to the law regarding how legal speed limits are determined and posted. The law was basically rewritten in November, 2006, rendering many underposted speed limits unenforceable!

The new Michigan Speed Law sets up a system where posted speed limits will be set based on engineering principles instead of political whims. If these new principles have not been used then fighting a ticket may be easier.

You will notice the speed limit was raised on Beechtree, Robbins Rd, Jackson, but never on Waverly - a major entrance to the city from the Township. Wonder why? Revenue, bottom line. Fight it. Win.


Another internet scholar. I suppose you would complain less if the police cars sat empty in the Tim Hortons lot while you are out driving. Face it, people love a good drag a cop in the mud story so they can feel a little superior to the a-hole who once caught them going 35 mph on a 25mph street. The city has completed the speed studies and that is why the limits were raised on some roads.As far as the police being some kind of cash cow for the city, I dare the tribune to print exactly how much revenue the police generate. I would bet how little it is would be the real news to most people. Ignorance and speculation abounds here!!!! I admit to being a little ashamed of myself for not having just read the comments, but adding to them. I hope I have hit bottom and don't do this again.


"A letter sent to media by an anonymous source", "This is also the same person that called the police on his own wife for domestic abuse, who is also a officer"Either that or the one who got kicked. I'm no Sherlock Holmes, but it seems like the person who wrote the letter must work there and have an axe to grind. Totally off subject, but there was an editorial last week about a GH cop who did something good for the community and there is not one comment good or bad on it, while this has 18 and counting in just a few hours. I guess what they say about the press putting the negative stuff on top the page because its what we really care about is true.


Really? Please GH, Please Mayor McCaleb, Please Chief Hawke - Look at the facts, you have an officer that is a serious liability to your staff and the community...PLEASE practice some accountability and do what you know you should....


really Orvis? I just laugh at the comments people make that are so quick to judge by an obvious witchhunt "anonymous letter" that shows up at the Tribune! I have no problem with the police in GH, in fact, I believe they have a fine department. After reading the article on line the Enquirer oops I mean the Tribune, written by Becky Vargo, I just had to laugh. I'm sorry but what a joke of a story. This bleeds of witch hunt. Without "judging" I read between the lines and saw horseplay, maybe stupid horseplay among officers, but none the less horseplay. I think the Tribune needs some "accountability" as you suggest.

Front page news?? Oh heck no. I think the Publisher of GH's newspaper needs to take a hard look at the new editor and her obvious obsession with these types of stories. I have read Vargo's articles over the years and most of the time they are not bad at all. But this one is a joke for a front page story. I would be embarrassed to have my name associated with it.


Seriously the crap that has come out of theGH police department is totally ridiculous. I bet this story has even more to it. So dont get your panties in a wad. I do agree that we have some good officers but they need to step up clean up their department because this stuff makes them all look like a$$e$. Again I state the chief and the mayor and city council need to say enough is enough!


You consider writing co-worker(s) names on bullets horseplay??? One must read the whole article...AND think back to the last "incident" with this "officer"...this is hardly a whichhunt...but a report of what the chief and city counsel are letting pass by because they are scared of the guys dad. What comes around, goes around...all of this "lack of judgement" will eventually catch up to's just a matter of time!


It appears that this "anonymous letter" had merit since comments the chief DID make seem to confirm the incident actually took place. It is a solid story that deserved to be published on any page and clearly nothing you will read about in the Enquirer. Stop reading that thing, anyway. I'd like to have half the money the Enquirer has payed out to settle law suits because of their sloppy style of reporting.


Thejudge seems to have a vested interest in this story... I agree that this could have used a little more time to develop, but other users are right; when faced with questioning like this the Public Safety Director would not just withhold comment if the claims were completely unwarranted. I don't believe you can use one individual's actions to condemn the entire police force, but one has to admit that the Grand Haven Police Department has had more than its fair share of incongruous incidents in recent years.

No One Special

Who are the geniuses doing the hiring at the Grand Haven Public Safety Department and Ottawa County Sheriff's Department?


Joe Biden. Or the hanging chair guy. I forget.


OMG... This guy has been out of control for years... I'm sure his personnel jacket could show this... It sounds to me that his peers need to have a vote of confidence. The City of GH is afraid of a lawsuit. It was tried back during the domestic situation which was a big fraud on his part. The problem is that his daddy who is an ex police officer from GH City keeps fighting those battles through his police union job. Well I think the City of GH has bought and paid for this one... Hopefully they don't have a work site incident with this time bomb....



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