Darga promoted to undersheriff

Elizabeth Darga becomes highest-ranking woman in department’s history

By: Julie Snyder | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published February 1, 2016

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MOUNT CLEMENS — As Macomb County undersheriff, Elizabeth Darga has become the highest-ranking woman in the department’s history.

Darga was chosen by Sheriff Anthony Wickersham to succeed Kent Lagerquist, who recently retired after 41 years in the department.

“Obviously we have a lot of qualified people here, and I truly believe in hiring from within,” Wickersham said. “Elizabeth Darga has the qualifications, the ability and the mindset to keep the Sheriff’s Office operating when I’m not around.”

Lagerquist’s final day was Jan. 15. A surprise farewell ceremony was held at the Mount Clemens substation with an Honor Guard and a final ride along with his son, Deputy Kevin Lagerquist. Darga’s appointment became effective Jan. 16.

“I am honored,” said Darga, 51. “I am also humbled and grateful that the sheriff has the confidence in me. I never would have imagined getting this far in my career.”

That career began in 1987 when Darga, who earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Wayne State University, started working as a corrections officer at the Macomb County Jail.

After 3 1/2 years and completing training at the police academy, Darga was promoted to deputy and worked in patrol, traffic enforcement, as an evidence technician and as a fire inspector.

After earning her master’s degree in administration from Central Michigan University in 1995, Darga was again promoted to sergeant in the sheriff’s detective bureau, left for a year to work as an evidence technician with the Macomb Auto Theft Squad, and later became a uniform services lieutenant in 2002 working as a supervisor on the day shift. Darga said she returned to the detective bureau in 2003 as a detective lieutenant. She would hold that position for eight years before being promoted to captain in 2011. As captain, Darga was responsible for investigations, the undercover units, SWAT and the gun range.

She is also a graduate of the FBI Academy and attended the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety’s School of Police Staff and Command.

Darga said she had no idea what she wanted to do in terms of a career when she entered WSU on a softball scholarship.

“All I knew is that I wanted to go to school and I wanted to play ball,” said the Clintondale High School alumna. “I took a class in criminal justice and I knew immediately, ‘This is what I want to do.’ It was a good choice.”

Darga said her new responsibilities will include department finances and budgets, employee grievances, building issues, disciplinary matters and acting as sheriff in Wickersham’s absence.

The undersheriff’s annual salary is $108,000.

Capt. David Kennedy, a former lieutenant in the detective bureau, also assumed his new position on Jan. 16.

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