ELECTION: Tom Reich wins third term as Eaton County Sheriff

eaton county car_302745

EATON COUNTY, Mich. (WLNS) — Democrat incumbent Tom Reich has won another term as the Eaton County Sheriff.

This is Reich’s third term as the Eaton County Sheriff, a position he has held since Jan. 2013.

Reich has had a 30-plus year career in law enforcement, beginning as a deputy in the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office and became a lieutenant.

Reich defeats Republican challenger and Former Eaton County Sheriff Rick Jones.

On the issues

In an interview with 6 News, Chivon Kloepfer asked the two candidates how they felt about whether they think racism is an issue in Eaton County and what they will do about it. Here’s what they had to say.

“I believe that racism has been an issue at times in Eaton County’s history, certainly I will address it by reaching out to every community. I will be available to go to an African-American church, an Indian Temple, I will go anywhere they ask me to go and address the issues,” Jones said. “I want all communities to be a part of the sheriff’s department. I want to recruit African Americans and Latinos… so I want everybody, I want diversion in the sheriff’s department, and I will make that a priority,” Jones said.

Jones also made reference to the Eaton County Sheriff’s Office losing its only Latino deputy, who had originally turned in his retirement resignation, but according to Reich, that deputy later withdrew the resignation and is now back working with the ECSO.

As for Reich, he says, there’s no place for racial discrimination with in the department:

“I have not seen that existing in Eaton County by my deputies. I do not tolerate racism, my deputies are trained not to do it. This kind of hits close to home for me, I have two bi-racial granddaughters, who deserve to grow up safe from the fear that they could be racially profiled. I expect that my deputies will treat everyone no matter their race with respect, so with that, I have not seen it. If it does happen, my deputies will be disciplined,” Reich said.

On transparency

Sheriff Reich: “I’ve been working with transparency for years since I was elected sheriff. I favor transparency. I think people need to know they have a sheriff’s office they can rely on. I do a roll call every week with the County Journal on giving them what crimes have been committed, where at and also tips from other companies that give us information about what’s going on,”Reich said.

Rick Jones: “I believe in transparency, I was given the award by the Michigan Press Association the sunshine award because I supported sunshine in all ways while I served in Lansing. The sheriff is not always a part of that. He had a deputy that was accused of rape. The investigative reporter put this on the front page, he (Sheriff Reich) didn’t have the man step down from duty while the investigation was ongoing. That was a mistake. You should always have administrative leave until the deputy is found to be innocent or charged.”

Throughout the 6 News hosted debate, Jones made several allegations about the current Sheriff, many of which Reich corrected, saying they were not factual.

The full interview can be viewed online on wlns.com here.

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