Lawmakers blasted by Jackson sheriff react to controversy


JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – Jackson County Sheriff Steve Rand has been the center of controversy since an employee sued him for discrimination and released audio recordings of the sheriff making derogatory comments about minorities and local officials.


6 News caught up with two Jackson area lawmakers mentioned in those recordings to see what they think should happen next.

Audio recordings reveal what Sheriff Rand had to say about State Sen. Mike Shirkey and State Rep. Julie Alexander.  


“God, that Mike Shirkey is a weird ****** guy,” Rand said about Shirkey.


“And this ******* Julie Alexander is more concerned about our inmates then she ever was about us,” Rand said about Alexander.  


The republican lawmakers who represent Jackson County in the Michigan Legislature say Rand, who’s also an elected republican, called them to apologize.


“I did accept his apology,” said Alexander, who represents Michigan’s 64th state house district.


Shirkey also accepted Rand’s regrets, brushing off what the sheriff said about him.


“Did you ever play athletics and fool around in the locker-room and have problems with your co-athletes and call each other names? Maybe even get in fights on occasion. It happens, and so I’m not overly concerned about it whatsoever,” said Shirkey, who represents Michigan’s 16th state senate district.


But others aren’t as forgiving.


Area residents, organizations, and local government are calling on Rand to resign or be removed by the governor. 


But Sen. Shirkey believes the majority of Jackson County residents want Rand to continue.


“What’s the definition of a lot? There’s a small group of people who I think have been vocal about losing faith in him. I see him out working every day, and I haven’t noticed that thing in the general public,” Shirkey said.


Sheriff Rand is refusing to step down and continues to deny interview requests from 6 News to explain how he plans to move forward.


6 News asked Rep. Alexander if she thinks Rand should resign.


Alexander says it ultimately comes down to Rand having the ability to lead.


“And I believe that because of the situations that have presented themselves he does not,” Alexander said.


However, Sen. Shirkey doesn’t have a problem with Rand staying in the sheriff’s office while investigations take place. 


Shirkey says he’s spoken to workers in the sheriff’s office, who tell him things are moving along as they normally would.


“I’m very careful about mob mentality and mob rule. So you know, let’s let the process play out and see where it goes,” Shirkey said.


The Michigan Attorney General’s Office says it’s still reviewing requests for Gov. Snyder to remove Rand.

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