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January 28, 2013

Kalkaska cop enters assault plea

KALKASKA — The village of Kalkaska's acting police chief now has an assault conviction on his record.

Sgt. Glenn Artress, 42, pleaded no contest Monday to a misdemeanor count of simple assault. He initially faced the more serious charge of aggravated assault, but that charge was dismissed in a plea deal.

Artress will be sentenced Feb. 20. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 93 days in jail. Village officials won't say if Artress, who already served a period of unpaid suspension, will face any additional discipline.

"Absolutely it is something our committee will discuss," said Katina Banko, a village council member who serves on the council's police committee. "What we will do, I don't know."

Artress couldn't be reached for comment. His attorney, David Kipley, didn't return a call for comment.

The charge stems from a confrontation at Artress' neighbor's home in Rapid City. He and his next door neighbor, Marvin Schellie, had been "feuding" for years, a police report said. Their arguments turned physical when Artress' dog ran onto Schellie's property on Aug. 13.

Artress told police he grew "very angry" because Schellie yelled profanities at Artress' wife and appeared to kick the dog. Artress ran up, shoved Schellie and punched him in the mouth. Schellie denied using profanities or kicking the dog, and video footage from a surveillance camera at Schellie's house shows he instead stomped on the ground behind the dog.

Michele Schellie, Marvin's wife, said she and her husband are happy Artress entered a plea. They contend they've dealt with his harassing and aggressive behavior for years.

"It was a long time coming," she said. "We are just so pleased that Glenn Artress is finally being held accountable for his actions in this county."

Kalkaska authorities have overlooked Artress' troubling behavior in the past, Michele Schellie contends.

"I believe there are ... perks when you're a police officer," she said.

Village President Jeff Sieting said village officials will have to discuss their next steps now that Artress has entered a plea.

"Things like this don't happen all of the time," he said. "You have to be really careful about how you dot your 'I's and cross your 'T's."

Village Manager Penny Hill didn't return call for comment.

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