IONIA — As Ionia County Sheriff Dwain Dennis prepares to step down from his post after 14 years, a pair of Republican candidates are squaring off in the Aug. 7 primary election.
Dale Miller, 55, of Lake Odessa, and Curt Read, 61, of Fenwick, are each hoping to secure the Republican nomination for Ionia County sheriff. The winner will face off against Democrat Gordy Douglas of Orleans in the Nov. 6 general election.
Miller pointed to his years of experience in the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office as what qualifies him as a candidate. He currently serves as undersheriff of Ionia County.
“I think that because of my experience of living and working in the community for the last 26 years, that shows that I have a vested interest in serving the citizens of Ionia County,” Miller said. “I’ve dedicated my life to the citizens of this county and I think I’m the man for the job.”
Miller said he is the only certified police officer running for sheriff and believes he recognizes the county’s strengths and needs.
“I think that I’ve got a real feel for not only talking and working with the people in Ionia County, but I feel I know what the community wants and what they expect of their law enforcement agency,” he said.
Miller said he believes he can bring a more “hands on” approach to the way things are run currently, and has made it a goal to enhance current programs, despite facing tighter budgets.
“We need to be proactive, not reactive,” he said.
Read is a write-in candidate on this year’s ballot. He pointed to his years of experience in various areas of law enforcement as to what qualifies him for the position.
“I want to bring my experiences and education to come in and focus on the main issues,” Read said. “When the sheriff announced that he was retiring, it seemed like it was a good time to come back and make a difference.”
Read was previously an officer in the U.S. Army, chief of investigations with the Inspector General’s Office and a senior staff officer and special agent with the federal government.
“I have worked with groups from all nationalities to improve international relations,” he said. “I was a commissioned law enforcement officer for 22 years.”
Read said if elected, he would implement a four-part prevention plan to help improve the department with a focus to prevent crime before it occurs.