Fred McPhail - Candidate profile for Eaton County Sheriff

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"Disturbing incidents both nationally and locally have created a divide between police and the citizens they serve. Recently we saw video footage of a police shooting an unarmed man with his hands raised in Tulsa, Oklahoma. And in Charleston, South Carolina video footage captured a police officer fatally shooting a man fleeing from a traffic stop who posed no apparent danger to the officer. Here in Eaton County equally-disturbing incidents have been caught on video. A sheriff's deputy became angry at a motorist during a routine traffic stop for a defective tail light. The deputy assaulted the driver, forcefully pulled him from his vehicle, threw him to the ground and made a false arrest. The deputy then filed a false police report and lied during an internal investigation. The current sheriff allowed him to quietly resign and failed to file criminal charges for his crimes against the citizen. The same deputy went to work for a nearby department and committed similar acts against a Lenawee County couple and is now being sued in federal court for excessive force. Another tragic incident that received national attention was the senseless death of a Grand Ledge High School student, Devin Guilford. Guilford, driving home from a church basketball game was stopped by a sheriff's supervisor for flashing his high beams. Because Guilford wasn't carrying his license he was dragged from his car, forced to lay in the roadway in late January while dressed in a t-shirt. He was tasered and then shot 7 times and died. This tragedy could have been avoided had the supervisor used deescalation techniques or simply asked Guilford identifying information which he could have verified with his in-car computer. The current sheriff took no disciplinary action against the supervisor nor did he request any criminal charges. In fact, the sheriff said no additional training was needed and he couldn't guarantee it wouldn't happen again. This type of denial and evasion of responsibility will not happen on my watch. If elected, I will implement deescalation training for officers and hold those accountable who violate citizens' constitutional and civil rights. Additionally I will utilize a community-service-based approach to policing where 'protect and serve' will be our priorities. I will put officers in our schools to identify issues and intervene before serious problems occur. I will eliminate ticket and arrest quotas which have forced deputies to be more aggressive and I will demilitarize the department by returing all unnecessary military-grade vehicles, equipment and weaponry to the federal government. If given the privilege to serve as your next sheriff I promise to use my 27 years of law-enforcement experience to make the necessary changes to restore your faith and trust in your sheriff's office. I respectfully ask for your vote on November 8th."