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Prosecutor office up to full force

ESCANABA — The Delta County Prosecutor’s Office is now fully staffed with three attorneys — Prosecutor Brett Gardner, Chief Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Lauren Wickman and the new Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Hayse.

Although Hayse started working for the office in August, he was officially sworn in as the assistant prosecuting attorney for Delta County by Circuit Court Judge John Economopoulos on Nov. 5.

Hayse, a recent graduate of Wayne State Law School in Detroit, said the reason he wasn’t sworn in until Nov. 5 was because he had to wait for the results of his bar exam, which he took in July.

He described the experience of being officially sworn in as invigorating.

“It was really invigorating to experience the culmination of 12 years of schooling, plus four years of college and three years of law school all coming to a head at a ceremony dedicated to my honor. It’s finally nice to come into my own and finally do the thing I’ve been dreaming about for the last 15 years of my life,” he said.

Hayse, who is from New Boston in the Metro Detroit area, explained despite not being from the area, he fell in love with Delta County when he interned at the prosecutor’s office in the summer of 2018.

“The reason I found out about Delta County is I applied for what’s called a Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan internship, which is special because it’s one of the few public service internships that you can do that’s actually paid — it’s very exclusive,” Hayse said. “I told the woman in charge of the internship program that I was so committed to be a career prosecutor that I didn’t care what county she sent me to — ‘You could send me to the farthest county from my home’ and I pointed at Delta County on the map and I said, ‘You could send me to Delta County and I would go.’ And she did just that.”

When he began looking at places to apply for a full-time job after graduation, Hayse said Delta County was at the top of his list.

“I think that the office has a good culture and … I think it’s a good place in the community, and I’m excited to work for an organization that is held in such high regard by law enforcement and by the community as a whole,” he said.

He added he is extremely excited to get to know the community and deepen his ties here.

“Even though I’m new, that doesn’t mean I’m not dedicated,” Hayse said.

Delta County Prosecutor’s Office was without an assistant prosecuting attorney for six months before filling the position with Hayse.

Gardner said the office took its time in filling the position because it was extremely important to find a person that was a good fit for the office and community.

“Andrew (Hayse) during his 10 week internship in 2018 showed that he’s not only a good fit in our office and not only a good intern, but that he had the makings of a good prosecutor who had a strong commitment for our community,” he said.

According to Gardner, whenever there were discussions on potential hires for the assistant prosecutor position it always kept coming back to Hayse as the person the office wanted to hire.

“At this point, Mr. Hayse is up and running in court and doing an excellent job,” Gardner said. “Couldn’t be happier with our selection. We know that he is going to be an excellent assistant prosecutor.”

Gardner added how the position of an assistant prosecutor is no easy job — that it takes a special person and special skills. He said Hayse is that person and has those special skills for the position.

“He understands this isn’t a nine to five job,” Gardner said. “He’s willing to put in whatever efforts are necessary to get the job done.”

Now with the Delta County Prosecutor’s Office being fully staffed with three attorneys, Gardner said it will allow the office to continue its stepped up efforts towards drug enforcement in Delta County.

The prosecutor’s office, along with the Delta County Sheriff’s Department, Escanaba Public Safety Department, Gladstone Public Safety Department, Michigan State Police – Gladstone Post and Upper Peninsula Substance Enforcement Team (UPSET) have been focusing on drug distribution rings within Delta County, according to Gardner.

“We’re focusing our intentions towards making sure the people that want to deal drugs in Delta County are dealt with severely — and by having Andrew (Hayse) with us, we’ll be able to increase our efforts,” Gardner said. “Law enforcement in Delta County has had a big impact over the last couple years and we want to continue to have strong law enforcement against drug dealers and across the board for those people who choose to violate the laws in our county.”

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