Clare County Review & Marion Press

Faces in the Crowd: Jed Avery

For the last 19 years, Jed Avery has served Osceola County as a police officer. After starting his career with the Evart Police Department in 2003, he became a sheriff’s deputy with the county in 2004, starting out as a school liaison with Evart Public Schools.
Currently Jed serves as County Undersheriff, where he also works as a K-9 handler.
He’s excited for the future of the sheriff’s department, and he takes pride in his work. As Undersheriff, a big part of his job is keeping people motivated, and keeping morale high. Building camaraderie and rapport within the department is the goal.
But there’s more to Jed than just his police work.
He spends much of his free time with his wife, Larissa, and kids, Reo and Khloe. Taking them from sporting events, to dance recitals, to band concerts and back. From their home in Highland Township, the Avery family is living the small-town life to the fullest.
We caught up with Jed recently, where we learned more about his story. We learned that Jed Avery is more than just another face in the crowd.
Marion Press: Where were you born and raised?
Jed: I was born and raised in Cedar Springs, Michigan. Technically, I was born in Grand Rapids, but I grew up in Cedar Springs and went to Cedar Springs Schools. I graduated in 2000.
MP: What kept you busy growing up?
Jed: Basketball. I was die-hard basketball: In the summertime, I was hitting all those Gus Mackers; the 3-on-3 roundball classics; going to basketball camps… I was a Michigan fan, and I’d go down there to Ann Arbor when they had [coach] Steve Fisher. Big time basketball. Lived it, breathed it. We’d travel around all summer and that’s all we would do.
MP: As a kid, did you always want to be a police officer, or is that something that you found later on?
Jed: I was working at a lumber yard in high school, and my dad says to me, “What are you going to do for a living?”
And I said, “I’m just going to work at the factory with you.” My dad worked 35 years at GM, and my mom put 32 years in.
And my dad said, “No. I worked in that factory so you didn’t have to. So what are you going to do with your life?”
A buddy of mine’s dad owned a construction company, and they lived in a really nice house, so I told him “I want to do construction.”
He says, “No, you’re not. [The construction owner] has a bad back, he’s got bad knees… what else do you want to do?”
I’m like, “Well, maybe be a teacher?”
He says, “I’ll tell you what, my buddy Kurt, he’s a state trooper, he’ll be over here tomorrow to pick you up.”
So Kurt Erke, he comes to pick me up in the patrol car, he looks at me and says, “So do you want to be a cop?” I said, “I don’t know.” He says, “Do you want to be poor for the rest of your life? – because you might not want to be a cop then!”
We head out on the road, made a couple of traffic stops, nothing big. But at the time it was like, “Oh my gosh.” Went to this major accident, people were screaming and sirens were going off. A lot of adrenaline going on, other officers were showing up on scene. And I’m thinking this is very close to basketball. Before the game, you’re excited, you’re jacked up. And then being a part of the team, you’d have that camaraderie, and I seen that. So I’m like, “Alright. This is what I want to do.”
MP: What has been your favorite part of the job over the last 18,19 years?
Jed: Being a police K-9 handler. I still am the handler as an undersheriff, I still handle the dog. At the end of the day, when we go to calls, they’re not the little ones – they’re the big ones. We’ve been on 9 bank robberies; we’ve handled some of the worst cases… We get to go to some of the most exciting stuff; we get to be a part of that. And when we’re successful, it’s because the other officers who were there set us up for success.
We train all the time. And when you put so much effort into training, and you go out there and apply it, and you’re successful, it’s the best feeling in the world. It’s like watching your son go up to bat and get a base hit. It’s that personal. You’re just happy for them.
We’ll go on a track, and find a missing person, or a suicidal person, and it’s just the best feeling in the world, that you were able to do this. And you can’t quantify what the outcome would be if you weren’t able to find them – because you were successful, and nothing bad happened to them, it’s a great feeling.
MP: What keeps you busy in your free time?
Jed: My hobbies are CrossFit and working out. I love CrossFit. I went to the CrossFit Games last year with Derek [Wing], the 2021 games, and that was fantastic. Right now, the thing I do the most is I’m a taxi-driver. My daughter was triple booked on Monday: We had dance recital, track practice, and a band concert. Then I had a choir concert last night. Just doing stuff with the kids. We’ve got baseball coming up, I’ve got a track meet tonight, and we’ve got soccer stuff going on…
I’m looking to try to learn how to play golf this summer – I’ve found that old people like to do that! I get a lot of offers to go play golf for charity events with the sheriff’s office, so I said I better learn how to play golf because I don’t know how to play.
MP: Who have been your role models?
Jed: The influential people for me were my mom and dad [Deb and Terry]. The work ethic they had. My mom would go work a 12-hour shift and drive an hour both ways to Grand Rapids, and come home and cook and clean, and take care of us kids. That was amazing.
And my dad, every day I’d wake up, there’d be a sticky note on my door, with a quote on it. One of the quotes that I remember is, “Courage is not defined by those who did not fall, but by those who fall, fell, and rose again.”
My dad would always give me motivational quotes. We’d go to Hoop City down in Grand Rapids. On the weekends – his only days off – he’d drive me down to Hoop City. They’d have lock-ins, where you could stay for 24 hours and just play basketball. My dad would sit there – he’d bring a book – and watch me play. On the weekends, my parents spent all their time doing something that I enjoyed doing, and giving me opportunities. And when it didn’t work out, my dad would be there to motivate me, “You’ve got to work hard, and good things will happen.”
MP: What do you enjoy the most about living in Osceola County?
Jed: The whole reason I moved up here, is because I enjoyed and loved living in Cedar Springs. When I lived there, we lived on a dirt road. My mom and dad don’t live on a dirt road anymore. You’d have cornfields everywhere, now it’s housing developments. We used to have a party line… Cedar Springs is so grown up right now, it doesn’t even look the same. Living here, it just makes me feel like my childhood; I had a great one. My mom and dad made it great. The environment was good, and that’s something I want to replicate with my kids. Where they can have that small-town feel. You grew up with these kids, and they’ll be your friends for many years. There are kids who I was friends with in preschool, and I’m still friends with them now, because it’s such a small community. That’s the one thing I like about it up here. It still is not industrialized, it’s not commercialized. It’s got that small-town feel. The only traffic jam you’ve got is behind a tractor.

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