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Kalkaska Co Sheriff - 150yr Logo

Department History

Kalkaska County Sheriffs
(Organized in 1871)

1871 - 1872 William Sheldon  
1872 - 1876 Ambrose W. Jones  
1876 - 1880 David Porter Beebe beebe
1880 - 1882 Orange A. Row rowe
1882 - 1885 Cornelius Cronin  
1885 - 1890 Myron A. Morrell  
1890 - 1893 John E. Rainbow rainbow
1893 - 1896 Rolando F. Rugg RuggRolandoFrancis
1896 - 1900 Ellsworth C. Chesshire  
1900 - 1904 John W. Creighton creighton
1904 - 1909 Charles P. Sherwood sherwood
1909 - 1913 John A. Sieting sieting
1913 - 1916 Elmer S. White white
1916 - 1920 Edward Rugg RuggEdwardDaniel
1920 - 1923 Harry R. Sherwood  
1923 - 1924 Herschel Beaver  
1924 - 1937 George J. Tolman  
1937 - 1943 Chester J. Parker  
1943 - 1947 Ferdinand J. Snay  
1948 - 1950 Ira M. Brown  
1950 - 1959 Rupert A. Vipond  
1959 - 1976 Earl M. Woodman woodman
1977 - 1987 Alan L. Hart hart
1987 - 2005 Nelson J. Cannon cannon
2005 - 2008 Wm. G. "Bill" Artress artress
2008 - 2015 David A. Israel israel
2015 Abraham C. DeVol 4001
2015 - Present Patrick J. Whiteford 4001b

We would like to add pictures of the past sheriffs. If anyone has pictures, please contact the Sheriff's Office!

Kalkaska Sheriff Office Composite Photos
1982 , 1989 , 2000 , 2014

First Kalkaska Jail and Sheriff's Residence 1874 


The first Kalkaska County Jail was located at 219 Court Street. The building was constructed in 1874 at a cost of $2,500.00. It included living quarters for the sheriff and his family. The smaller windows at the lower right were isolation cells. The regular cells were located in the back.

Kalkaska Court House 1873

The first courthouse was a wood frame building constructed in 1873 at a cost of $1,075.50. The building was located on the same street as the jail. (Photo not available)

Kalkaska Court House 1883


The courthouse that was completed in 1883 at a cost of $20,000.00. The sheriff's living quarters consisted of three rooms on the third floor. During this time, prisoners were kept in basement cells.

Kalkaska County Jail and Sheriff's Residence 1908


The first floor of the jail contained a single close-confinement cell and one double cell, giving accommodations to 10 prisoners. The second floor contained three double steel cages and a woman's ward that accommodated 10 prisoners. There was a toilet on each floor. The sheriff's residence was 40X38 feet and contained the sheriff's office and waiting room, with toilet and closet conveniences. Also the family living room, dining room, kitchen, pantry and hall on the first floor. On the second floor there were five bedrooms with closets and bathroom. The basement had a laundry, boiler room and other rooms for storage purposes. The new Jail was proposed in December of 1906 which voters passed in 1907. At a cost of $8,000.00 dollars, contractors Anderson & Brown completed the construction in the specified time in the year 1908.

Sheriff Earl Woodman

-  Sheriff Office Shoulder Patch 1960-1976  -

During the administration of Sheriff Earl Woodman, from 1960-1976, Sheriff Woodman's wife handsewed each shoulder patch for the Sheriff Office uniforms. The patch consisted of the outline of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan with the words "KALKASKA CO SHERIFF's DEPT" and a flag marking the location of Kalkaska. The Sheriff Office also had an Auxillary unit, members of which were identified by a small patch under the shoulder patch. The below patch was provided by former Sheriff Alan Hart.


ewoodman-Letter from Pat Woodman to Dave and Vicki Wolfe-

I have an old picture of Dad from between 1961-1963 standing in front of his police car, a '61 or '63 Chevy Impala. It was taken at the old Philips 66 gas station that used to be on Main Street across from what is now, New Life Assembly Of God Church. I really like this picture because Dad really looks good (health wise) and it shows how far we have come in the county. The County did not supply uniforms, except for dress uniforms. They did not supply the vehicles, but did pay mileage and gas and supplied radios and lights. I remember Dad talking about his first police car, a 1958 Ford Falcon and the light (or bubble gum machine as he used to call it) was almost as big as the car. He was always challenged by the younger folks because they had, as they thought, faster cars. Their only problem was that they just weren't as smart as Dad. They probably did have faster cars but he knew the area better and knew all the short cuts. They never could figure out how he was able to out smart them. The other thing I like about the picture is Dad's gun. He had a Smith and Wesson 38 Special that had a special hand fit grip and a "spring loaded holster." This was his pride and joy but he wore that gun only when he was in dress uniform, blockades, or shooting competitions. The rest of the time he wore a concealed gun, his favorite was his 25 Beretta. He also had a small 22 caliber, two shot pen gun that he carried in his shirt pocket for many years. I remember one year during Trout Festival when he was asked to compete against a State Police Officer to see who was the quickest draw. Dad did not want to do it but the crowd that had gathered really wanted to see him do it because most of the people felt that the highly trained State Police Officer would be faster. This was during the time that the State police wore a "flap over" holster. You had to release the flap to draw the gun. They also trained with both hands in shooting but not in drawing the gun. Dad's philosophy was that if you could not draw with both hands, then you would be in trouble if your drawing arm was incapacitated. Well, Dad decided to go head and compete with the State Officer. They took all the necessary precautions, emptying their weapons, clearing their chambers, and Dad gave the State Police Officer an advantage by allowing him to pull his flap back on his holster. This got the crowd going because many of them thought Dad would lose for sure. They stood, facing each other, several paces away so that people could see and they were on an elevated platform so as many people as possible could have a view. Dad stood there shaking his right hand, his drawing hand, in front of him, all the while the State Policeman was watching for the sign that he was going to draw, when suddenly........ Dad whipped out his gun with his left hand, never stopping the shaking of his right hand. The State Policeman was dumbfounded and could not believe his eyes, nor could the crowd. It certainly boosted Dad's popularity with the town's people. They were quite impressed.