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Incoming sheriffs prepare to take charge

Incoming sheriffs attend a training session in East Lansing.
steve carmody
Michigan Radio
Incoming sheriffs attend a training session in East Lansing.

On January 1, 33 new sheriffs will begin their new jobs.

It’s the biggest change at the top of Michigan law enforcement in decades.

Terry Jungel is the executive director of the Michigan Sheriff’s Association. He can’t remember a time when so many of Michigan’s 83 county sheriffs were new to the job.

“I think it’s a new generation coming in with a new expectation,” says Jungel, who adds that many of the retiring sheriffs had difficulty with public demands for greater transparency, including body cams.

In Ingham County, Scott Wriggelsworth is replacing his father. Gene Wriggelsworth is retiring after 28 years as sheriff.

Scott Wriggelsworth rejects the suggestion that the big turnover represents a generational change in law enforcement. But he says there will be change.

“The public expects a different type of policing they did 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 years ago,” says Wriggelsworth, “It’s a very fluid profession and you have to be constantly changing.”

Many of the new sheriffs have law enforcement backgrounds.

At an East Lansing training session earlier this month, the new sheriffs learned about the administrative responsibilities that many of them do not have experience in, including running their county jails.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.