By Sue Moore
A new Vicksburg police chief was announced at the village council meeting in August by Village Manager Jim Mallery. Scott Sanderson, soon to retire from the Kalamazoo city police force, has accepted the chief’s job beginning in October.
Sanderson’s specialty is in K-9 dog handling, having served in that special unit for the city. After graduation from Ferris State University in 1993, Sanderson joined the Kalamazoo Public Safety team with his first assignment at a fire station. He worked in traffic enforcement, walked a beat and was a night shift patrolman in his cruiser in all parts of the city.
He made sergeant and was appointed to the K-9 unit in 2001. Sanderson was able to keep the dog he trained at home, so the family became equally attached. When he got new dogs the previous dog would be retired. He only handled one dog at a time while supervising eight handlers and their assigned dogs while working his own. Being a supervisor for 15 years as well as K9 are his specialties, he said.
The family adopted the dogs once they were retired. “The loyalty you get from a dog is the end result of the training and understanding dog behavior. We covered the city and county whenever the need occurred,” Sanderson said.
His goal as he eases into being Vicksburg’s police chief is to get acquainted with full-time officers Henry Kite, Darin Stanfel and Mark Peterson, and the part-time contingent as they work through Mallery’s commitment to community policing. “The police department has been doing great things here, but not many people know about it. I saw the difference community policing has made in Kalamazoo. It has been huge to humanize the badge. It’s all about teamwork to bring the community and police together. When you get to know people in the community, things go so much smoother. I will be out canvassing and talking to neighborhoods and going to their meetings. I want them to know the officers and how we can be of help,” Sanderson told the village council.
Long-time Vicksburg police chief Eric West’s contract was not renewed at the end of June by the village. Mallery has conducted interviews for a new chief over the last month as he culled five finalists from 89 resumes that were received. A panel of local business people and community activists were enlisted to narrow the choice to two. Mallery said that Sanderson is the clear choice to step into the job once his 25 years of service is complete with the city in October.