Eaton County Sheriff

Eaton County Sheriff, four-year term, vote for 1

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  • Candidate picture

    Fred McPhail

  • Candidate picture

    Tom Reich

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Biographical Information

What are your top three priorities for the department if elected?

What is the most critical issue facing your office?

Is there a broad misuse of force in the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office? If yes, how can it be corrected? If no, how do you explain legal actions taken against the county in the past year for alleged abuses?

What will you do in your first month in office?

What specific actions, if any, can the Sheriff’s Office and its deputies take in addressing the growing problems of heroin and illegal prescription painkiller use?

How do you believe surplus military equipment, which can be acquired through federal government programs, should be used by the Sheriff’s Office?

What training, policy and procedure changes or additions need to be made to account for law enforcement’s regular interaction with people with mental illnesses?

Are you current in all tax, alimony and child support obligations? If not, please explain.

Hometown Grand Ledge
Education B.A.- Criminal Justice-Michigan State University
Family Married 20 years to Angela, daughters Katie & Taylor, son- Brody
Professional Experience 25 years of service with the Eaton County Sheriff's Office having held the following positions: Deputy, Narcotics Investigator, Detective, Sergeant, Captain of Patrol and Detective Bureau, Undersheriff and Chief Deputy.
Political Experience None
Campaign Website
1. Restore the public's trust and confidence in the executive level of the Sheriff's Office. 2. Return to the core principles of policing- protect and serve our communities. 3.Emphasize training to de-escalate potentially violent situations.
Restoring the public's lost trust and confidence in the executive level of the Sheriff's Office. Citizens frequently tell me of their frustration with the lack of accountability within the sheriff's department after witnessing disturbing video footage of deputies violating citizen's rights and committing criminal acts. Residents are appalled by the video footage of a sergeant's encounter with an unarmed high school student that led to the student's death. Additionally, a deputy sheriff was captured on video assaulting a motorist and falsely arresting him without any discipline or criminal charges being sought. Citizens are angry and frustrated with Sheriff Reich's failure to respond.
There have been an unacceptable number of excessive force lawsuits and negotiated settlements against Eaton County since Sheriff Reich took office in 2013. Correcting the problem starts at the top. Instead of promoting an overly aggressive policing style, the sheriff must emphasize the protection of citizen's civil rights and constitutional rights as well as common sense and courtesy.

The acquisition of unnecessary military vehicles,equipment, and training by Sheriff Reich has promoted a militarized police culture which has led to an overly aggressive police response in numerous situations. These inappropriate police responses have resulted in numerous law suits for excessive force.
Review all policies, procedures, directives, and memos enacted by Sheriff Reich and make the appropriate changes to reflect a new direction within the department that eliminates overly aggressive policing and promotes citizen's constitutional and civil rights.

I will instruct my command staff to provide training that de-escalates potentially violent situations and take steps to change the culture to a protect and serve model of policing including, community policing and community outreach.

I will meet with community leaders in cities and townships to ensure they are receiving appropriate law enforcement services.
Heroin use and overdosing has become a national and local epidemic. This is an issue I was working on as part of the previous sheriff's administration but didn't finish because of election results from the last election cycle. I'm glad to see Sheriff Reich has moved forward on this issue and trained deputies in the use of an opioid antidote to save lives. However, it doesn't start and stop with a medical kit. Sheriff Reich's budget has increased significantly since taking office but he has done nothing to promote anti- drug awareness in our schools. I want to partner with schools,teachers and parents to stop it early on. Prevention is the best solution.
The acquisition of military vehicles often sends the wrong message to the public by promoting an us versus them mindset and blurs the line between soldier and police officer. The public often believes the police are an occupying force rather than a helpful resource which is why so many police agencies have declined to accept them or returned them following public outcry.

Military surplus is often outdated and in need of expensive repair. Our law enforcement officer's lives are on the line daily and they deserve the best equipment possible. This should be addressed by long term strategic planning through the budgetary process not by accepting inferior equipment from the government.
Michigan closed numerous mental health treatment facilities years ago and has reduced funding for mental health care. The result has been more mentally ill people being sentenced to jail rather than receiving proper diagnosis and treatment. As Sheriff, I will work with our law makers to advocate for proper funding for mental health treatment which will help get people out of the criminal justice system and into the mental health system. Additionally, a continuous review of policies, procedures and training regarding officer's interaction with people with mental illness is certainly appropriate and necessary.
Hometown Eaton Rapids
Education Graduate of Holt High School Associates Degree, Criminal Justice, Lansing Community College Graduate FBI Executive L Academy Graduate National Sheriff’s Institute Graduate U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Numerous specialized training seminars and certifications in the areas of Crash Reconstruction, Homicide Investigation, Interview and Interrogations, Drug Enforcement, Supervision and Leadership and many more during my 28 years of Law Enforcement service.
Family Married 4 adult children
Professional Experience I'm in my 29th year of Sheriff's Office service. 25 years of law enforcement service with the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office. I served as a Corrections Deputy, Patrol Deputy, Undercover Narcotics Agent with the Tri-County Metro Narcotics Squad, Detective, Patrol Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Corrections Lieutenant, Detective Bureau Commanding Lieutenant. I have served for the past 3 years, 7 months as Sheriff of Eaton County.
Political Experience 2010-2012 elected to the Eaton Rapids School Board 2012 elected Sheriff of Eaton County
1. Continue our success in reducing violent crime, burglaries, larcenies and property destruction through pro-active patrol strategies, effective investigations and professional leadership and the strong partnerships we have formed with both surrounding local agencies and the state police. 2. Continue to work with our local school districts and the community to strengthen relationships and continue to build trust. Our Citizen Police Academies are a great example of this effort. 3. Continue to build and expand the innovative training and technology we started in my first term.
The most critical issue facing the Sheriff’s Office is providing the very best public safety through appropriate response in emergencies while continuing our success in reducing crime in a cost effective manner. There are serious anti-cop movements on the far left and the far right across our country. As a result, fewer men and women are choosing law enforcement as a career. Competing for a smaller pool of well qualified employment candidates is becoming a critical issue.
No — absolutely not. In fact, since I began to serve as Eaton County’s sheriff, the use of force/false arrest litigation filed against the county is actually far less than in prior years. For a candidate to imply or state that a broad misuse of force exists, and cause more media attention to a pending litigation, is a shameful political tactic. Our highly trained deputies have thousands of citizen interactions yearly. Instances where force is used are rare by comparison, and these instances are monitored and evaluated by command staff. Civil legal actions against law enforcement are garnering increasing media attention in the past year, but have existed for decades.
The same thing I do now. I will arrive at my office each day and work with the finest law enforcement professionals I’ve ever known – and together we will continue to achieve positive results. Striving to fulfill our mission to be the model of law enforcement and public safety excellence by working in partnership with the community and others to fight crime and the fear of crime, to enforce the laws while safeguarding the constitutional rights of all people and to provide quality service to all of our residents and visitors. As I do now, I will continue to meet with citizens, city and township officials and managers, community leaders and school officials to ensure their concerns are met.
We are working to address the growing problems of heroin and illegal prescription painkiller use – including overdoses. Drug overdoses (largely opioid drugs) have now surpassed vehicle crashes as the number one cause of injury deaths. In early 2015 we took action to become the first agency in our region to train and equip each patrol deputy with Narcan, overdose reversing medication kits. Secondly, we have increased enforcement efforts, partnering with the LPD's Special Operations Section and increasing our work with the Metro Narcotics Squad. Our deputies continue to convey the anti-drug message in our schools. I support the movement to lessen the number of opiod medication prescriptions.
This program is a smart, fiscally conservative way to replace broken/worn out equipment and obtain new equipment at no cost to our county taxpayers. We replaced an aging broken down bank truck with a virtually new armored vehicle and saved county taxpayers about $300,000. Not equipped with weapons, this rescue vehicle can safely transport us into extremely dangerous situations and rescue/evacuate citizens. Unlike my predecessors I have not obtained any firearms from this program. Over 8,000 police agencies use this program to save millions of dollars.To suggest obtaining free equipment causes “militarization” of our department is completely untrue and is a politically motivated attack.
There has been a steady increase in these interactions, and we continue to train deputies to recognize and respond appropriately. Early recognition and effective communication skills increase safety for everyone involved - and that’s what our officers are trained to do. Our deputies receive ongoing training in inmate suicide prevention, and many tragedies have been avoided as a result. We appointed a Captain to assist in curriculum development for a new Lansing Area Crisis Intervention Team training program. This nationally recognized program will train deputies as crisis team leaders to effectively and appropriately lead, respond to and address situations involving the mentally ill.