The role of your Sheriff today is vastly different than in the past. As a little girl, I loved watching John Wayne movies with my Dad that portrayed a Sheriff in the typical romantic view, as a lone, tough protector of the town, with a one cell jail, that the bad guys would bust out of and then be hunted down by the Sheriff’s posse. I also used to watch reruns with my grandparents of nostalgic Mayberry and the heartwarming Sheriff in the Andy Griffith Show. As wonderful as a walk down memory lane is, the reality is that the role of your Sheriff today has evolved into a professional executive leadership position of administrative management, business administration, employee and labor relations, public relations, communication and community involvement.
Your modern Sheriff is an administrator, with the responsibility of overseeing the administration of law enforcement services and programs within our county. This includes the Michigan constitutionally mandated responsibility of managing and operating a safe jail, and through the executive law enforcement powers preserving the public peace to maintain a safe and secure community for our citizens. This position requires a focus on innovative management principles to successfully supervise the established command structure of employees in the day-to-day operations of the multiple divisions. The budget for this operation is approximately $10 million which is offset by the roughly $ 2.7 million in revenue for contracted services. It is important that the Sheriff’s Office continue the success established by the current and past Sheriff’s in public safety and services.
As an Administrator, the Sheriff is responsible for maintaining strong and positive relationships through open lines of communication with first responders, firefighters, township, village and city authorities, neighboring law enforcement agencies, state and federal law enforcement agencies, and elected officials. We need to pursue the equally important regular updates and inter-agency educational cooperation with state and federal departments as time and budgets will allow. Finally, your County Sheriff needs to focus on inter-agency administrative communication, flexibility, and planning to facilitate joint operations for unexpected emergencies, natural disasters and act of God type events. Most recently, the dam failure and massive flooding certainly has provided the opportunity to understand this and salute the Midland County first responders, neighboring County and State first responders, and thousands of volunteers from all over who stepped forward to assist thousands of Midland residents to safety and with the long process of cleaning, repairing and rebuilding this great community.
My #1 priority is the safety and security of our residents. Individuals and families need to feel safe as they live, work, go to school and thrive within our community. The largest contributing factor to the success of this goal and the Sheriff’s Office is the employees. As your Sheriff, I would focus on facilitating an environment for all the deputies to have the training and resources necessary, which will have a direct correlation in the success of the entire organization in serving the citizens. This includes recruiting the highest quality employees to fill vacant positions, which continues to be a challenge for all law enforcement agencies. In this local area 25 years ago, it was not uncommon for over 100 applicants to apply for one open position. Currently, for several positions the number of applicants dropped to approximately 25 and the competition with other local agencies over those same applicants is fierce. New and existing employees need to continue to have the training and resources to be fully equipped and prepared to perform their duties for our residents.
There is a continued increasing demand on law enforcement services as a result of static to decreasing levels of funding. My second priority is fiscal responsibility, by managing the budget and resources efficiently. I will focus on maintaining current and obtaining new sources of outside funding such as grants, while utilizing resources and advances in technology. Technology is rapidly changing all aspects of life and can be a highly effective law enforcement tool, while also keeping our residents safe. Business administration principles are required to successfully manage this multi-million dollar office. This includes managing the relationships and negotiations with other agencies and vendors of the Jail, in order to continue to contribute to the county general fund.
My third priority would be continuing and increasing community involvement of the Sheriff’s Office. We need to continue the valuable programs and partnerships that focus on children, the elderly, mental health, preventing victims of abuse, and the reduction of controlled substance abuse within our community.
One of the many examples is Midland County Project D.A.R.E. It works with public and parochial schools in our county by teaching students the skills for good decision making, substance abuse prevention, anti-bullying and respect for others. This program is very personal to me. I was born and raised in Midland and was part of the very first D.A.R.E. class at Plymouth Elementary School many years ago. I have now come full circle with this program as a current member of the D.A.R.E. Board. We have worked hard on the annual fundraising project, which allows the D.A.R.E. program to continue. D.A.R.E is one of many preventative programs in Midland – many of which are available because of the dedication of supporters within our community!
My rewarding career with the Sheriff’s Office started as a certified Corrections Deputy at the Midland County Jail. This work experience provided the opportunity to gain an extensive knowledge of the daily operations of maintaining a safe and secure facility. Midland basically has two types of inmates; those who are dangerous life- long criminals that prey on society and then there are those unfortunate souls who are caught up in situations that require rehabilitation programs to change their direction in life.
In the daily interactions with inmates as a Corrections Deputy, I observed firsthand the destruction of substance abuse and addiction on good people. I remember one inmate talked about how he genuinely wanted to break the cycle of his addiction. He realized that his choices and the people in his life needed to change to make that happen. Several years ago at the D.A.R.E. fundraiser, he happily reported that through local programs he had changed the direction of his life. He was later featured at the Midland Heroin Summit by telling his story and then traveling as a representative to Washington, D.C. We need to do everything possible to implement preventative and rehabilitation programs like this for more success stories for non-violent inmates. Not only do these programs improve the lives of those involved, the programs also have a positive impact on recidivism rates of offenders and aid in reducing the costs of incarceration on our community.
My current position with the Sheriff’s Office Administration at the Law Enforcement Center has provided the knowledge and functional understanding of the administrative processes, including but not limited to the annual budget, updating policies and procedures, monthly accounts payable, community relations, relationship building with other agencies, and payroll. I have daily interaction in collaboration with multiple divisions, including the road patrol to complete the mission of the Sheriff’s Office in the most effective and efficient manner possible. I have also represented the Midland County Sheriff’s Office in public speaking engagements.
Prior to my current law enforcement career, I enjoyed private sector positions in various industries including: strategic intelligence, healthcare, marketing, and sales. My sales experience will be handy as the ‘art of the deal’ skill set is required in various negotiations as your Sheriff. Other additional skills cultivated in these positions include: project management, contracts, vendor procurement, client facilitation, utilizing various software applications and technology, human resources, media relations, accounts receivables and customer service.
My academic background includes a Bachelors in Business Administration in Management from Northwood University and a Criminal Justice Law Enforcement degree from Delta College. As a Midland native, I attended Midland Public Schools and was the recipient of college tuition scholarships from the Midland Area Community Foundation. One of the scholarships was courtesy of the Zonta Club of Midland. Now as a current member of Zonta, my generation is making the continuation of the scholarship program possible for other young women.
I have a strong work ethic and I am dedicated to the groups I participate in. It started in my childhood when I was earning money to go to church camp by selling sub sandwiches, mowing lawns, babysitting and any other odd jobs I could find. It continued as a teenager when showing a horse in 4-H and through college with other extensive involvement at the Midland County Fair.
I am currently a member of the; Zonta Club of Midland, Midland 100 Club, Midland County Sportsman Club, the Midland Correction Deputies Association Secretary, Midland County Project D.A.R.E Vice Chair and Senior Services of Midland Board member. I am a member of the following professional organizations; Midland Business Alliance, American Jail Association, the Michigan Sheriff’s Association and the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM).
I support many other local, state and national non-profit organizations including; Shelterhouse, The Legacy Center for Community Success, Home to Stay Housing Assistance Center, Great Lakes Bay Veterans Coalition, St. Baldrick’s Foundation, Midland Firefighters Youth Foundation, United Way of Midland County, Midland Open Door, City of Midland Miracle Field, Affordable Legal Care, For A Brighter Tomorrow, Kids First Midland, Care Giving Network, Saginaw County Mounted Division, Midland County Foster Closet, Children’s Grief Center, Midland Area Community Foundation, Salvation Army, Community Wishes, The Northwood University Fund, Northwood Football Lift-A-Thon, Global Compassion, Midland County Emergency Food Pantry, Cancer Services of Midland, Midland County Pit Stop, Midland Recyclers, Midland Santa Holiday Parade, City of Coleman Fireworks Fund, Midland Kiwanis Foundation, PetSmart Charities, American Red Cross, Delta College Foundation, United Way of Saginaw County, Midland County Fair Four Season Equestrian Center, National MS Society, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Petals & Pinecones, Best Buddies International, Wounded Warrior Project, Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny (BOND) and Messiah Lutheran of Bullock Creek.
It would be an honor and a privilege to apply my cumulative experience and education to the duties and challenges of being your next Sheriff. Together we can continue to make Midland a great place to live, work and raise a family! Today, I am asking for your vote and support in the Aug 4th primary to be your next Midland County Sheriff.