A Fenton Township resident has officially been sworn in as Genesee County sheriff.
Chris Swanson has been in the role since Jan. 6, 2020, when he began serving as sheriff after his predecessor, Robert Pickell, announced his retirement.
At this first weekly briefing of the year,
livestreamed on Facebook on Wednesday, Jan. 6, Swanson was officially sworn in as sheriff for the next four years by Circuit Court Judge Brian Pickell, Robert Pickell’s son.
Swanson was voted in during this past election cycle and won by a wide margin. He is the 40th sheriff of Genesee County.
“I have committed to giving you the best of me,” he said.
Swanson made a commitment to continue to “protect, serve and unify” in his role as sheriff, three words he uses when he describes the role of the GCSO.
Swanson joined the department at age 18 as a seasonal marine deputy. When asked about his career aspirations then, he said he “wanted to run the place.”
Before he served as the undersheriff, Swanson served as sergeant, lieutenant and captain. He is a licensed paramedic.
Swanson has spent his time as sheriff working to combat the opioid crisis, bringing more education opportunities to inmates with the I.G.N.I.T.E. program, helping people during the holidays with the Walk With Us Christmas Spectacular and working with different Genesee County organizations to reduce the recidivism rate at the county jail.
He started the G.H.O.S.T. program, which has resulted in the arrest of more than 90 people in 2020 who arranged to have sexual relations with minors.
Swanson received national recognition this past spring during the George Floyd protests in Flint when he walked with protestors and the events remained peaceful.
“You should be proud because not only is Genesee County being seen when we have a protest or for human trafficking or for how we handle inmate education, but how we build this bridge between the community and law enforcement. What does reform look like? You’ve seen that with Walk With Us, our Christmas spectacular,” he said.
He said there’s a “small army of leaders” at GCSO who are working to make these programs happen.
“Everything that I just mentioned, we’re going to continue to do, and we’re going to get better at it,” he said. “We’ve got a great year ahead and I’m so glad to be your sheriff.”
On Wednesday, Jan. 6, he was sworn in with his wife Jamie standing next to him.
“We’re going to change the perception of law enforcement. We’re going to change the perception of Flint,” he said.