Michigan House Republicans
Rep. BeGole: County sheriff candidate reforms offer key protections for residents, communities
RELEASE|November 2, 2023
Contact: Brian BeGole

The Michigan House today overwhelmingly advanced legislation from state Rep. Brian BeGole that ensures Michigan county sheriff positions are experienced and able to serve residents and communities effectively.

Currently, the only requirement to run for county sheriff in Michigan is to be a registered and qualified elector in the county in which election is sought by the filing deadline. House Bill 4981 would require candidates to be a licensed law enforcement officer or a certified corrections officer with at least five years of experience, unless they are currently serving as a sheriff. 

BeGole said the change is important as sheriffs’ responsibilities include road patrol, 911 central dispatch, jail operations, emergency management, animal control, and other important day-to-day duties.

“This is a very public position that oversees critical services and has to step up in life and death situations,” said BeGole, of Antrim Township. “I believe people who have some level of experience handling some of these different responsibilities will ultimately provide the best services for residents and our communities. A police department would not hire a police chief who has no law enforcement experience. This should be no different.”

“This bill is not meant to discourage people from running for office. It’s about meeting the needs of the people. That is a fundamental expectation of this position.”

Other states have stringent requirements for county sheriff positions. In Ohio, no person is eligible to be a candidate for sheriff and no person can be elected or appointed to the office unless they have been employed full-time by a law enforcement agency or hold a current valid peace officer certificate of training issues by a state commission. Individuals also must have at least two consecutive years of supervisory experience as a peace officer at the rank of sergeant, or get a degree in law enforcement or criminal justice from a college or university.

Before serving in the Legislature, BeGole worked in law enforcement for 32 years, including six as a county sheriff.

HB 4981, which received bipartisan support, now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Brian BeGole speaks on House Bill 4981 before the Michigan House on Thursday, Nov. 2.

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