3-way internal race for sheriff.

March 1, 2016

By Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

Oceana County Undersheriff Tim Priese

Oceana County Undersheriff Tim Priese

HART — Oceana County Sheriff Robert Farber is not seeking re-election in the upcoming November election, and three officers from the sheriff’s office are running for the sheriff’s position.

Undersheriff Timothy Priese, Lt. Craig Mast and Deputy Roy Strait are all throwing their hats in the ring.

Priese, 47, has a 26-year career in law enforcement, which began in 1989 when he worked part-time for OCSO Marine Patrol. Since then, Priese worked as the sheriff’s office dispatcher, deputy, detective and lieutenant. As a deputy, he worked in the ORV area of the Silver Lake State Park in the summer.

He also worked for the State, Sheriffs’, Chiefs’ Enforcement of Narcotics Team (SSCENT) for six and a half years. Priese worked part-time early in his career for Scottville, Hart, Shelby, Rothbury and Montague police departments.

“I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Oceana County,” Priese said. “It’s a great department, and I will continue that tradition, as well as work to improve it.”

Oceana County Sheriffs Office Lt. Craig Mast.

Oceana County Sheriffs Office Lt. Craig Mast.

Priese has not named anyone specifically to be undersheriff if he’s elected. However, he said he “would like to promote from within the department.”

Mast has been employed at the sheriff’s office since 1993. He started at OCSO as a dispatcher in 1993. He was promoted to sergeant in 2000 and lieutenant in 2009.

He has a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement from Western Michigan University.

Mast began his career at Hart, Shelby and Pentwater police departments, working part time.

Oceana County Sheriff's Deputy Roy Strait

Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Roy Strait

The road patrol lieutenant has been a member of the multi-agency Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team (SWAT), as well as a member of the dive team and snowmobile patrol.

Mast has been serving on COVE (Communities Overcoming Violent Encounters) Task Force Against Domestic Violence since 2008. He has been a member of Oceana County System of Care since its inception. He was selected as Cove “Officer of the Year” in 2015.

Strait, 78, was an MP in the US Marines in the 1950s. He then spent 20 years as a deputy then a sergeant and K-9 handler in Grand Traverse County. Strait was instrumental in forming the Northern Counties K-9 Association and was also an EMT/firefighter in East Bay Township.

Strait then became public safety director for fire and police in Pennfield Township before coming to Oceana County in 1994. In 1997, he started the Roy’s Kids Program that helps children in need. Strait has been an American Red Cross instructor since 1966 and teaches first aid and CPR county-wide. He was a charter member of the Andrea Bosse Center; board member of Choices West; and a member of the Claybanks Zoning Board of Appeals. Since 2008, he has been chief of police for the Village of New Era.

Over the years, Strait has attended schools for labor and management training for fire and police. He is a member of the Marine Corp League and the American Legion.

If elected sheriff, Mast plans to appoint OCSO Road Patrol Deputy Ryan Schiller as undersheriff.

Oceana County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Schiller

Oceana County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Schiller

Schiller, who began his career at the sheriff’s office in 2005, has 15 years of law enforcement experience.

Ryan is an EMT and firefighter for the Hart Area Fire Department. He received a life-saving award from the Michigan Sheriff’s Association in 2013 for a drowning incident that occurred on the Pentwater River.

Editor’s Note: OCP was initially unsuccessful in connecting with Strait in time for the deadline for this article. Strait’s biographical info was added to this story Wednesday morning, March 2.


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