Mark Pietras enjoying new role as undersheriff

'There is a good community relationship that's here'

LAKE COUNTY — When Mark Pietras moved from Kalamazoo to Lake County to become undersheriff a few months ago, he didn't just take on a new job role, he and his family are embracing life in a new, rural setting. 

Pietras began his job as undersheriff on May 18, 2021, filling the position left by Wesley Bierling, who took a position as chief of police in Sault Ste. Marie. 

With 32 years in the law enforcement field, Pietras recently graduated from the Fall 2021 Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police Executives' and New Chiefs' School, bringing even more experience to the table.

"We are fortunate to have Undersheriff Pietras here in Lake County," said Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin. " With his years of experience and professional but unique character, he has raised the bar while creating a new camaraderie within the staff and team here at the sheriff's office."

The training involved a full week of overview of duties which police executives/sheriffs and undersheriffs would have to do, Pietras said. 

Pietras' introduction to law enforcement began as a reserve officer in Jackson in 1989, and then he became a part-time dispatcher in Adrian. By 1991, Pietras was accepted to the police academy.

From there, he had a part-time job in the city of Hudson, and then a part-time job in Morencey. 

By 1994, he took a full-time job at Western Michigan University, and in 1998, he joined theTownship of Kalamazoo Police Department, and remained there until May of 2021. Pietras and Martin met years ago. 

"When Rich was a young man, he rode along with me at Western Michigan University," Pietras said of Sheriff Martin. "Throughout the years I ran into Rich a lot." 

Martin thought back on the memories which brought the two into each others' path, "We've remained friends since," Martin added.

The transition from Pietras being a police officer in Kalamazoo to undersheriff in Lake County is going well.

"To me, it is another challenge," Pietras said. "I take all of my experience and bring it to a smaller department."

For Pietras, eventually living up north was long in his plans. 

"I would come up north on my days off, and bought a retirement house in Manistee. I love it up north and serving in this vicinity," he said. "I like hunting and fishing and collecting Jeeps. This is the right place to hunt, fish and ride Jeeps." 

Pietras said his family also is enjoying living in the area. 

"I have a 12-year-old son, Caleb, and a wife of 13 years, Jennifer. She had to be behind the deal to move up here.," he said. "She is excited to be in the area. She is an artist, and we have a room set up for painting and sketches. Here she has the peace and quiet without the bustle of city life."

"My son and I were at Peacock two or three times looking at motorcycles and quads. He likes to hunt and fish, too. Everything has been very agreeable," he added.

Moving forward, Pietras wants to continue with the standard of the LCSO, while finding ways to develop programs and obtain necessary tools to grow upon the mission of the department. 

"This is a good community," Pietras said. "There is a good community relationship that's here and we can make that better. We are blessed to have good officers - that's what makes your department."