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Sheriff Clayton's letter to staff after recent tragic events

Let me begin by sharing my thoughts and prayers with all those that have been directly and indirectly affected by the recent events in Baton Rouge, St. Paul and Dallas.

These recent events serve as a stark reminder that our country continues to wrestle with complicated and challenging issues. Issues of race, ethnicity, discrimination and law enforcement; Issues that have been and will remain a challenge to all of us as Americans for some time to come.

How does this affect Washtenaw County as a community and importantly us as a Sheriff's Office? Although the events of the last few days don't impact us directly, we don't live in an isolated world, therefore we must be cognizant of the potential collateral effect of these most recent events. Especially if we don't remain vigilant about our safety and committed to our mission, which includes a dedication to helping preserve the sanctity of all human life.

I have been asked several times during the last couple of days, how do I believe the impact of events happening elsewhere will affect us. As stated earlier, I recognize that we don't live in an isolated world; therefore those events will influence the perception of others relative to law enforcement, and most specifically the Sheriff's Office. Some of that influence will be negative and unfair. It is something that to some degree we can't control. Fortunately, I do not believe those events, will define us in the minds of a vast majority of the people we serve in Washtenaw County. The Sheriff's Office has a strong reputation and is well respected as an organization that fulfills their role of "deliverer of police services, including law enforcement" in a fair, equitable and respectful manner. While also seeking and finding many non-enforcement methods of adding value to the communities we serve. That reputation is a result of your hard work, repeated sacrifices and ongoing commitment to the people and community we serve. This doesn't mean that we have been perfect and not made mistakes. It means that each of you have demonstrated a commitment to trying to do the right things in the right way.

So what does this mean for us moving forward? It means that we must recognize the things we can directly influence and do our best to make that influence positive. What we can influence the most is our decisions and our actions. Therefore, my request of each of you is, while we will continue to monitor national events and local temperament, please stay focused and remain committed to making the decisions and taking the actions that are consistent with our commitment to fair and equitable treatment for all. Continue your understanding that "leadership is everyone's responsibility", and do your part to be open and engaged in our community, providing the leadership that is needed to navigate these trying times.  Stay true to not only our mission of "Creating Public Safety, Providing Quality Service, and Build Strong and Sustainable Communities", but be true to the manner in which we strive to realize those lofty outcomes. Let's support each other and do everything that we are capable of doing individually and collectively to ensure our safe delivery of great police, corrections, dispatch and emergency management services to a well deserving community.

Finally, if you have concerns, questions, thoughts and/or suggestions, please share them. I am always available to talk, listen and discuss any issue that you feel is important.

I appreciate all of you and your service.

Stay Safe,


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