Newaygo County is a very rural location that has few resources and services--as well as low funding for services--available to its community members. There are difficulties accessing the few available resources, as there is no public transportation available throughout the county. In April 2022, there was an increased community awareness regarding the rise of substance use disorder and overdoses in the county. Many citizens reached out to local law enforcement departments and expressed interest in how to most appropriately support this cause.
The four local police chiefs--from Grant Police Department, Fremont Police Department, Newaygo Police Department, and White Cloud Police Department--came together to discuss the amount of concern being brought to their attention regarding the proliferation of substance use disorder and overdoses. The chiefs were overwhelmed with the amount of community support they were receiving and wanted to find a solution. At this same time, Ferris State University contacted Newaygo Police Chief Georgia Andres and asked to share information about a program called Hope Not Handcuffs. Chief Andres, White Cloud Chief Evans, Police Social Worker Nicole Klomp, and other community members met with the Michigan Regional Coordinator of Hope Not Handcuffs, Jestine Garcia, in May 2022. It was agreed to bring this initiative to the community as a starting point for addressing substance use disorder.
Ms. Klomp was made the point of contact for the PDs, to aid them in developing and implementing this program. She, alongside Ms. Garcia (who is also a resident of Newaygo County), discussed restarting a Families Against Narcotics chapter for the county as another accessible service for those seeking help and educational opportunities. Implementing a FAN chapter would also provide a public resource to help people learn about and navigate substance use disorder, share their experiences, and hear feedback from the citizens. Ms. Klomp and Ms. Garcia invited multiple agencies and members of the community to informational meetings regarding Hope Not Handcuffs and FAN. The overall conclusion and feedback from attendees was positive and supportive of a Newaygo FAN chapter.
Together, Ms. Klomp and Ms. Garcia began gathering names and making contact with community members from various professions in the community. Due to their positive relationships and connections throughout the community, they was able to bring together the local probate judge, school officials, police chiefs, licensed social workers, hospital staff and administration, and those involved in substance use disorder treatment services. Many involved have had personal experiences with family members, are in recovery, or have expressed interest in participating for other reasons, such as giving back to the community. Newaygo County is clearly very passionate about this cause and is working hard toward creating a safe and healthy solution to combat this disease and support those in need.
1st Monday of the Month
The Stream (2nd Floor)
1 State Rd.
Newaygo, MI 49337
Judge Melissa Dykman was elected to the Newaygo County Probate Court and began her term on January 1, 2019. Before she was elected, she practiced as a private attorney with Greer & Dykman, PC for more then 18 years. Judge Dykman is a lifelong resident of Newaygo County and graduated in 1996 with her Bachelor’s degree from Aquinas College. She went on to earn her Juris Doctorate from Thomas Cooley Law School. She is married to her husband Eric and they have three children.
Nicole Klomp is a Limited License Master Social Worker employed through Arbor Circle and contracted with by the City of Newaygo Police Department. She has been in the social work field for approximately 10 years and has experience in both clinical and macro work. Nicole has worked in the fields of child welfare, substance use disorder, mental health, trauma informed care, crisis response, administration, and, most recently, police social work. She created a police social work position that was implemented with the support and help of Newaygo Police Chief Georgia Andres and Arbor Circle, and is being replicated at other police stations across the state. As a person who lives and works in Newaygo County, Nicole has the ability to have a firsthand assessment for the needs within the community. She has a strong passion for helping others achieve their personal best, while creating a safe and healthy environment for them to do so in. She also brings forth a trauma informed approach to all situations. Nicole sits on the Newaygo County Human Trafficking Task Force and chairs the resources subcommittee. In addition, she is affiliated with NC3 and Headway Coalition, is a guest speaker at Ferris State University, and participates in other volunteer opportunities throughout the county as appropriate.
John is currently a supervisor at Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Kalamazoo. He has lived in Newaygo for nearly all his life and loves his community. A volunteer firefighter for 10 years, John has personal experience on how the disease of addiction can affect someone's life and family. He is looking forward to Hope Not Handcuffs coming to Newaygo County and working to help stop the stigma behind substance use disorder. He is excited to see the community receive the education and resources that are greatly needed in our rural area.
Chief Andres was born and raised in Newaygo County and grew up on an organic dairy farm in
Fremont with her nine brothers and sisters. She chose to work in the law enforcement field as
a way of giving back to her community, beginning her career as a corrections officer in the Newaygo County Jail. After completing the Police Academy, Andres wanted to continue to work in the community in which she was raised and applied to the Newaygo Police Department. On
December 5, 2000, she was hired as the Newaygo PD’s first female police officer. In June of 2003, she was promoted to sergeant and became the first female to serve in an administrative role in a Newaygo County law enforcement agency. On January 8, 2015, she was sworn-in as Newaygo’s fifth Chief of Police and the first female chief in the county. A certified MCOLES police officer, Chief Andres completed her Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice at Ferris State University. She is well known for her community engagement events, positions on multiple coalitions and boards, and her ability to bring new and futuristic programming to the PD and community. She has also been a driving force behind the implementation of Hope Not Handcuffs and Families Against Narcotics in Newaygo County. Chief Andres serves as the District 9 representative for the Michigan Association for Chiefs of Police and serves on the State of Michigan Mental Health Board.
Kristi Farber is a Licensed Master Social Worker and has been practicing social work for approximately 25 years. The Clinical Manager at the Arbor Circle in Newaygo, she is licensed in clinical and macro social work, has a vast knowledge of community resources, and experience working with various populations. Kristi has worked in the fields of trauma, autism, crisis response, mental health, substance use disorder, school social work, hospital social work, and administration. She also assists with the police social work initiative and has multiple certifications and credentials. Kristi has a deeper understanding of the culture and immediate needs of Newaygo County residents, as she has worked and lived in the community for the vast majority of her life. Her passion is to create change and bring forward a healthy and safe community for the residents within.
Tim Rodwell is the Chief of Police for the City of Fremont. Chief Rodwell has been in law enforcement for 25 years, leveraging values of constitutional and community policing. Serving the Fremont community since 2020, Chief Rodwell is excited to bring solutions to community challenges.
Kevin McLaughlin is a person in long-term recovery, celebrating 20 years. He was born in the West Michigan area, moved throughout the country, and ultimately settled in the Grant area. After years of being in the food industry, Kevin attended and graduated from Grand Rapids Community College with an Associate’s Degree in the Culinary Arts in 2002. He worked at Pine Rest Christian Mental Health services for 13 years as the residential food coordinator and group facilitator for adolescence and addictions, combining his love for teaching and food service. In 2013, Kevin became the Executive Director of Recovery Allies of West Michigan, which is a Recovery Community Organization. Their mission was to educate, advocate, and celebrate all things Recovery. A recovery coach, recovery coach trainer, and owner of ART of Coaching Inc., Kevin provides trainings for peers in the workforce nationally. He and his wife currently own a food truck called Sober Eats, which once again combines Kevin’s love of food service and addiction advocacy. Kevin and Joyce have five boys, a dog, a pony, six goats, and seven chickens.
White Cloud Elementary
River Chamber of Commerce
River Chamber of Commerce
Newaygo County PCA
Newaygo City Council
White Cloud City Council Mayor Protem
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