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Cheboygan County sheriff retires after lifetime of serving hometown

Cheboygan County Sheriff Dale Clarmont
Michael Livingston
Cheboygan County Sheriff Dale Clarmont

Dale Claremont’s office is decked out in badges, accolades, and knick-knacks he’s collected over his 35 years in Cheboygan County law enforcement.

Now, he says he’s finally ready to leave it behind.

“Everybody says you'll know when you're ready. I turned 62 this Friday, and I'm ready,” Claremont said. “I can step away knowing (the department) will continue down that path to serve and protect in the most professional way.”

But before he got that office, he was a 1979 graduate of Cheboygan High School. When he left home to serve in the Navy for eight years, he said Cheboygan was the only place he’d want to raise a family.

Only a week and a half after he returned home, Claremont started as a dispatcher.

He moved up the ranks over the years and won his first bid for county sheriff in 2000.

Aside from major changes in technology, he says Cheboygan is the same town he knew as a kid.

“When I first started on the road, you always had to have change in your pocket, because you might have to find a payphone and call in,” he said. “Cheboygan is just a good group of people here… and that hasn't changed over the 35 years.”

Claremont says he’s most proud of and initiative that placed a resource officer at Cheboygan Public Schools.

Most recently, Deputy Ron Fenlon alerted the department of a potential bomb threat at Cheboygan Middle School that resulted in a swift arrest.

Clarmont said he’s also proud of the department's search and rescue team founded in 2003.

“That team has been successful in every incident where they've been called out,” he said. “Over those years, they have found every kid, hunter or the person that just walked away. So, 100% success.”

Undersheriff Tim Cook will serve out the rest of Clarmont’s term starting in January.

Looking ahead, Clarmont said he looks forward to summers on Cheboygan’s three inland lakes where he enjoys fishing and boating.

Michael Livingston covers the area around the Straits of Mackinac - including Cheboygan, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties as a Report for America corps member.