Jackson County Sheriff speaks out about lawsuit controversy

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) — It’s been one week since a bombshell lawsuit dropped that claims Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand is a “multifaceted bigot” who discriminated against a disabled employee.

Rand broke his silence Tuesday and gave his first on-camera interview since the scandal broke.

“I’ve said some things that are harmful and hurtful to people. I’m sincerely apologetic for that. I’ve embarrassed myself, the department, my family,” Rand said.

Sheriff Rand takes responsibly for what he said, but doesn’t remember making the inappropriate comments that were secretly recorded by the employee suing him.

“The words, at no time indicate my actions. I can assure people of that. They don’t reflect my true feelings or the feelings I have in my heart,” Rand said.

He’s spent the last week apologizing to people and seeking help.

“I’ve already reached out and contacted the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to get some training on this issue and bring that to my staff and myself,” Rand said.

Residents, community groups, and government leaders have been vocal about condemning Rand’s remarks and demanding his resignation.

“I’m going to make an effort to make things right. And for me that means staying in the office, doing what I set out to do. Getting the training I think I require,” Rand said.

But more trouble could be brewing for the sheriff.

Michigan State Police confirms a criminal investigation into possible misconduct at the sheriff’s office that is separate from the discrimination lawsuit.

Rand is confident they did nothing wrong.

“We have handed over all the information that has been requested of us and we are fully cooperative,” Rand said.

The sheriff hopes to share more of his side of the story when the lawsuit goes to court.

In the meantime, he’s working to regain the community’s trust.

“This is a me problem. This is something that I need to deal with. I’m determined to make this better,” Rand said.

The Jackson County Board of Commissioners is meeting Tuesday night and we’re told they’re planning to take some kind of action on this issue.

Stay with 6 News and WLNS.com for updates about what happens at the meeting.

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