With current Ionia County Sheriff Dwain Dennis choosing not to run for another term, the race for a new sheriff is between Republican Dale Miller and Democrat Gordy Douglas.
Miller, 56, of Lake Odessa, has more than 32 years of experience in law enforcement and currently serves as undersheriff for Ionia County.
Miller has continued his police education with the FBI National Academy, the Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, the FBI Master Development Series, the National Institute of Corrections and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“I am trained in jail administration, incident command, accident investigation and advanced narcotics,” Miller said. “I have worked for the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office for over 26 years and have been undersheriff for the past 11 years. I have served Ionia County as a deputy, a narcotics investigator, a sergeant, a lieutenant and a detective lieutenant.”
Miller said he believes he has served the county well and hopes to continue his efforts to serve the people if elected sheriff.
“I recognize the responsibilities required of the sheriff as set forth by the Constitution of the state of Michigan and I am eager to show the citizens that my dedication to serving them has not changed,” he said. “My experiences as undersheriff have well prepared me for the role of sheriff. “
Miller said the biggest problem facing the department has been staff reductions and budget cuts. He also hopes to crack down on drug use by partnering with local health systems and schools.
“We all understand that services cost money, however, I am dedicated to the citizens of Ionia County and I will do everything I can to have adequately trained staff dealing with these crimes, while making certain the budget is controlled in a responsible and accountable way.” he said.
Douglas, 54, of Orleans, is a graduate of Belding High School and has served as senior Animal Control officer for 19 years in Ionia County.
With 25 years of experience in law enforcement, he trained in statistical processing at Lansing Community College, graduated from the Kent County Sheriff Office Traffic Squad and is a certified Marine Patrol officer for the Ionia County Sheriff’s Department.
Prior to his time in law enforcement, Douglas worked at Gen-Corp Automotive in Ionia, where he was a union officer serving as union president, board member, vice president and shop steward.
“I was the youngest union president in the entire international union,” Douglas said.
Douglas said he would like the Ionia County Sheriff’s Office to interact more with the community by gathering public input.
“I feel that people have lost faith in government and feel that it is out of control,” he said. “With open door policies and the help from the employees we can change some of those thoughts.”
Douglas said, if elected, he would like to restore trust that may have been lost between employees at the sheriff’s office and the public.
“The first thing is to get the trust and respect within the department with a working together relationship, then spilling that out to the public,” he said. “This can be done with a positive working together program and public input.”