Oakland County Sheriff

Vote for one candidate. The Oakland County Sheriff serves a four-year term and receives an annual salary of $147,342.

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Candidate picture

    Michael J. Bouchard

  • Candidate picture

    Craig S. Covey

Social Media

Biographical Information

What would be your top three priorities in this office?

Which areas of the sheriff’s department need the most improvement, and what suggestions can you offer for making them better?

What is your position on outfitting the county sheriff’s department with body cameras?

How do you propose curbing the practice of sex trafficking in Oakland County? Do you think the punishments for perpetrators and victims of trafficking are fair? If not, how would you change them?

Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?

From a law enforcement perspective, what is needed to better regulate the medical marijuana industry in Michigan?

What steps should be taken to attract and retain highly qualified police officers?

What steps should be taken to identify and eliminate abusive officers?

Do you support and will you appear at campaign events with your party’s presidential nominee?

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor? If so, explain.

Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? If so, explain.

City of residence Birmingham
Age 60
Family Wife: Pamela Children: Mikayla, 26; Michael, 22; Jacob, 19
Education Michigan State University, Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice and Police Administration with Honors, 1979 Brother Rice High School with Honors, 1974 Graduate of the FBI National Executive Institute Graduate Certified Homeland Protection Professional, by National Domestic Preparedness Coalition Graduate, Mid-Michigan Law Enforcement Center, Valedictorian Graduate of the National Sheriff’s Institute Graduate of the United States Secret Service in Dignitary Protection Program Graduate of Darden’s Program for emerging Political Leaders, University of Virginia Toll Fellow, Council of State Governments in conjunction with the University of Kentucky
Vehicles owned All vehicles owned are American made.
Professional Experience -Oakland County Sheriff (1999-present) -Michigan Senate (1991-1999) -Michigan House of Representatives (1990-1991) -Village of Beverly Hills Council (1986-1990) -Police Officer, Bloomfield Township (1978-1988) -Public Safety Officer, Village of Beverly Hills (1977-1978) -Police Officer, Southfield Township (1976-1977)
Political Experience -Oakland County Sheriff (1999-present) -Michigan Senate (1991-1999) -Michigan House of Representatives (1990-1991) -Village of Beverly Hills Council (1986-1990)
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Campaign Website
My priorities are focusing on the opioid epidemic, deepening community relationships, and enhancing community safety from all threats. Heroin and misuse of opioid medications have hurt many families and our Narcotics Team has placed an emphasis on going after heroin traffickers. I sought legislation to allow Deputies to carry and administer Narcan and since deployed, we have saved 35 lives. We will continue to develop programming to enhance the relationships with our citizens. Having honest conversations is critical in the strengthening of trust between citizens and law enforcement. By keeping crime down, we can make our county a better place and grow businesses which allows us to prosper.
It is critical that Oakland County builds a state-of-the-art regional training facility for local and county police agencies to use and train at regularly. Law enforcement is held to high standards in all aspects and an enhanced emphasis on training is one way to guarantee all of our men and women in uniform are trained for any frontline situation they may face. Better training = Better outcomes Politicians have called for more accountability of law enforcement, but have not invested in the tools that make that happen. By having a regional training facility, we will help ensure the best possible scenarios play out in our communities and let all families go home safe at the end of the day.
Body cameras are a rapidly changing technology that can aid agencies in conducting investigations. That being said, we need to be careful about what is allowed under proposed legislation to regulate body cameras that would potentially violate the privacy of citizens. We see people at their most embarasing & sad moments and that should not be disclosed. Only situations involving alleged police misconduct should be. As the technology develops, costs become manageable, and if legislation is crafted that protects the public, our agency would use them.The cost & storage capabilities are a huge undertaking for the Sheriff's Office and we want to ensure they would be a good use of taxpayer dollars.
Both labor and sex trafficking are concerns for communities across the country. I have actively worked with legislators to tighten up the human trafficking laws that punishes and goes after those who participate in this heinous industry. Additionally, we need to focus on providing victims of trafficking with therapies and counseling and make sure they are not charged criminally as a result of being forced into possible criminal behavior. We have placed an emphasis on training our Deputies on how to identify the signs of human trafficking and are working with county outreach programs to push back against anyone that thinks of participating in this industry. We have an expert on staff as well.
As a former fatal accident investigator and detective, I have seen too many lives destroyed by substance abuse. As you make things legal and convenient you drive up usage and a certain percentage will have addictive tendencies. Drugs of all kinds have the potential to be used in ways that can negatively effect the welfare of individuals, the public, and the safety of our communities. Police uphold the laws the public passes and desires, but I am not a fan of recreational activity of getting high or drunk. Again, I have seen too many lives negatively impacted by substance abuse of all kinds, both legal and illegal. In the end, whether it is legal is not my choice, but the people's decision.
Recent legislation that passed to regulate the medical marijuana industry is a start to bring clarity to an issue that has been in desperate need of a framework since the voters passed the medical marijuana referendum in 2008. I have asked the legislature for a proper framework that gives patients convenient and safe access while providing them knowledge of the content and dosage level. However, what has passed actually allows convicted felons to be able to operate in this drug and cash-only industry. The standards put forth are much less than those of pharmacies, banking, or gambling. The patients and community deserve the same high standards as other regulated industries.
This is actually a critical question in difficult times. Both the negative environment in which police have to operate these days and the diminishing benefits create a challenge to attract and retain the best quality individuals. For most agencies, the days of guaranteed defined benefit pensions and lifetime health benefits are gone. We must look for innovative options and conditions that would be attractive to the young people of today. We are seeking men and women of character who desire a career that is a calling - not a paycheck. We seek those people who see public service as an honorable opportunity to help people, sometimes at the worst moments of their lives. We are hiring, join us!
Hiring standards need to be created that allow agencies to have a clearer picture of applicants they are hiring. Polygraph examinations should be allowed to be given and disciplinary records should be allowed to be shared between agencies. Currently, an officer may resign or be fired from one agency and apply elsewhere. The hiring agency has no way of accessing any potential use of force or disciplinary issues the applicant may have. Legislation has been introduced to change this and will help with the issue of the 'gypsy cops', who get fired and rehired frequently. Any police officer that commits an act of abuse needs to be held accountable to the full extent of the law and screened out.
With all of the homeland security and law enforcement issues swirling right now, I have been consumed by my job and have declined active involvement in Presidential politics. Being sheriff is job 1.
City of residence Ferndale
Age 59
Family Single
Education B.A. Ohio State University - Political Science and Communications
Vehicles owned Mercury Milan
Professional Experience Founder, Executive Direcotor Midwest AIDS Prevention Project 1988-2010, Executive Director, Michigan Organization for Human Rights 1985-1988, Consulting, Charity Fundraising, Public Relations, board development for 35 years.
Political Experience Oakland County Commissioner 2010-2012 Mayor, City of Ferndale, two terms, Ferndale City Councilman two terms
Race/ethnicity Caucasion - English Scots Irish
Our sheriff should work full time providing leadership in the county, the region, and the state supporting reform in the prison system, in sentencing guidelines, and in drug policy. Our County Sheriff should be a leader in the county and region helping to create diversity in the law enforcement workforce to make sure it represents the communities in which it serves. I would immediately cease the current practices that oppose and circumvent the voters' repeated wishes to legalize marijuana for medical purposes and to support the full decriminalization of marijuana for adults overall while increasing efforts to fight opioid addiction with treatment, education and prevention.
The department is currently 85% white and heavily male while the county's population is 25% minorities and people of color. A true leader would be going into urban schools and minority communities to recruit young people to enter law enforcement. Deputies and law enforcement personnel are underpaid. I would lobby the Executive for living wage increases to attract young people to enter the profession. The Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) needs reform by increasing its efforts around abuse of prescription pills and heroin addiction focusing on treatment, education, and prevention and ceasing the wasteful and expensive 1970's era war on marijuana. Increase drunk driving interdiction.
I totally support the full installation of body cameras on all law enforcement personnel working in the field at all times. The costs could be covered by using drug forfeiture funds, and other funds from the county, the state, and the federal government. There is no reason not to begin this kind of project and excuses that the resources are not available are false ones. Our current sheriff has large amounts of money and resources he has used on helicopters and other military style armament. A true leader in the sheriff's office would see the value to the communities and to his own personnel in this kind of valuable program.
Our sheriff could use his office and leadership to increase programs designed to protect the most vulnerable from sex trafficking including young women and men, as well as minors and children. The laws may need tweaked in order to follow the most up to date best practices but included should be education, prevention, and programs to help victims enter or re-enter society. A listening tour around the county going into shelters, clinics, and schools would enable a grass roots effort from the community up to measure and locate the worst problem areas. A diverse sheriff's department that includes women, people of color, LGBT people, and immigrants could create a task force in this area.
Yes. Like prohibition of alcohol, the criminalization of marijuana, which began in 1937, has failed. The war on marijuana, begun by Nixon in 1971, has cost society hundreds of millions of dollars while failing to make even a dent in pot use. Marijuana should be legalized, regulated, and taxed. It's use should be limited to adults, and can be controlled just as alcohol is now. The plant has been used by mankind for thousands of years. The hysterical way our current sheriff treats reefer is madness. The millions of dollars now wasted on enforcement should be redirected against dealers of heroin and meth . The millions of dollars raised from taxes can go to schools, roads and healthcare.
Honest and caring leadership would go a long way. The current Oakland County Sheriff has never accepted the will of the voters in his own county. He raids homes and compassion clinics and arrests nurses and caregivers. There are best practices being developed around the world and also as close as our neighboring county of Washtenaw. Jaded and paranoid politicians in Lansing and in Oakland County could learn the truth about the value of medical marijuana and its use among the sick and elderly instead of being hypocritical and alarmist. A true leader would help create a task force that includes doctors, researchers, growers, pharmacists, scientists, and patients to create smart policy.
Compensation here has been nearly flat for years. Taxpayers are always willing to support resources for law enforcement and safety if it is fair, transparent, and part of the community. Low wages and an unwillingness to reach out to ethnic minorities, women, LGBT and people of color has resulted in a labor shortage. A true leader would go into the Latino and Black communities in our county and recruit. He or she would seek out Spanish and Arabic speaking officers and embrace gay officers and more women. If our leaders belong to a party that insults gays, walls out Latinos, and bans Muslims, we lose.
Leadership from the top would go a long way to instill professionalism. This includes actually having the sheriff go to work each day and spending time among officers and in the communities. Body cameras are a proven effective resource that protects the citizens as well as the officers. Diversity in the workforce and embracing and celebrating diversity would also lead to a better force. Reform of the marijuana policies including forfeiture activities there might also reduce some abuse. First time offenders or one time incidents can be handled as in other professions, but chronic problems or abusive histories should result in much harsher discipline as in reassignment or termination.
Yes. I am supporting my party's presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and would proudly stand with her. While she is not perfect, she is open and inclusive and smart and hard working. I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary, but now have a Clinton bumper sticker on my car. I am very ashamed and astonished that the current leadership in our county is backing Trump, and while I sometimes vote for a moderate or main street Republican, this time I have to question the sanity of the party that has nominated a person like Trump. I want county leaders who embrace all people and who stand for progress, common sense, and smart, reality-based policies.
No, I have never been arrested for any felony or misdemeanor, and I have never been convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony.
No, I have never filed for personal or any kind of bankruptcy. I'm thrifty if not frugal, and I have always created balanced budgets professionally and personally.