2012-07-28 / Top News

Ivan Wilde, Scott Strait Are Candidates for County Sheriff

Mackinac County Primary Election August 7

Ivan Wilde Ivan Wilde Sheriff Candidates:

Two candidates are running for one seat as county sheriff. Terms are for four years.

Ivan R. Wilde

County sheriff candidate Ivan Wilde, a Republican, cited leadership and 24-hour-a-day patrols as his objectives for the Mackinac County Sheriff’s Department.

“The top priority would be to get the sheriff’s department back on track to be an effective and efficient law enforcement agency,” said Mr. Wilde of his intent to initiate effective leadership policies and generate positive morale.

Mr. Wilde said that his 42 years of law enforcement experience, most in leadership roles, will help him to develop the goals he will set to improve the sheriff’s department. He desires an opendoor policy for residents, patrol officers, and other employees so that they can stop in over a cup of coffee to discuss ideas or concerns.

Scott Strait Scott Strait Not only does he want patrol officers to stop in, but he also desires to communicate among county departments, as well as federal, state, local, and tribal agencies.

“We can’t do it alone. Every agency should be involved,” said Mr. Wilde about law enforcement teamwork.

Of his leadership style, Mr. Wilde said, “A sheriff has to lead by example.”

His experience in investigations formed his approach to law and to the sheriff’s role. Mr. Wilde is a decorated officer for bravery and investigative excellence. He possesses 290 hours of state certifications and law enforcement classes. Additionally, he is a certified field training officer, breath test operator, arson investigator, and crime scene investigator.

In fact, after receiving a nearfatal gunshot wound, Mr. Wilde still disarmed the involved individual and restrained him until backup arrived, he said.

In terms of patrols, Mr. Wilde said that patrol officers currently end their shift at midnight with no third shift patrol to give 24 hour protection. Instead, he plans to change the schedule and have patrols running at all hours of the day and night through the cooperation of all local, tribal, and state law enforcement agencies without additional costs to the taxpayers.

Due to budget deficits, Mr. Wilde said he would like to accomplish 24 hour coverage without the need to add any extra patrol officers.

“Obviously it is extremely important to operate within your budget and still have the department remain effective,” he said.

“I’ve always prided myself in accomplishing whatever I set out to do,” said Mr. Wilde, and he also focuses on teamwork between all agencies and investigations to enforce laws. “I really enjoy the investigative aspect of law enforcement.”

This St. Ignace resident was a reserve officer, road deputy, road sergeant, detective, and detective sergeant in Oceana County. He was a police officer for Western Michigan University and holds an Associate of Arts degree in criminal justice from WMU in 1983. He started in Muskegon County in 1983 and worked as a Friend of the Court investigator, Friend of the Court warrant officer, road patrol officer for Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department, and detective. He retired from the Muskegon County Sheriff’s Department in 2001 after purchasing the Straits View Motel in St. Ignace.

When he moved back to St. Ignace in 2001, Mr. Wilde took the position of chief of police in Kinross in 2003. In 2004, he took a position in the Mackinac County Sheriff’s recreation department and patrolled Mackinac County with boats, snowmobiles, and off-road vehicles.

Mr. Wilde owns and operates his motel, is a real estate broker, participates on the Moran Township Board of Review, is a member of the board of directors for the EUP Board of Realtors, is a member of the St. Ignace Lions Club, is a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and is a lifetime member of the Fraternal Order of Police.

He has been married for 21 years to his wife, Mary, and has three children. In his spare time, Mr. Wilde enjoys golfing and playing the guitar.

Scott Strait

The incumbent candidate for sheriff, Scott Strait, a Republican, considers public safety to be his highest concern and personal experience to be his most helpful asset for maintaining safety in Mackinac County. He has been sheriff for almost eight years.

“As community caretaker, it’s my job to provide all I can so that the citizens are safe,” he said.

As sheriff, Mr. Strait wrote grants that funded an additional officer on the Straits Area Narcotics Enforcement (SANE) team, established an ORV safety program, created a neighborhood watch program in Cedarville, and enhanced victim services countywide. These voluntarily funded programs are among more than a dozen administered by Mr. Strait’s office and are part of Mr. Strait’s strategy to keep Mackinac County safe.

Not only do the programs increase the level of safety in Mackinac County but Mr. Strait said they have reduced taxpayer costs and saved money by generating $2.7 million dollars in revenue from grants. The revenue pays for the programs and operational costs of the sheriff’s office.

“I think that it’s a mistake if law enforcement, especially the office of the sheriff, looks at law enforcement as its primary goal because law enforcement absolutely has to be part of the solution, but it’s only part of the solution,” said Mr. Strait to The St. Ignace News. “If part of that job of keeping people safe is education, we’ll do it. If it’s enforcement, we’ll do it. If it’s other programs, we’ll do that.”

As part of his interest in programming, Mr. Strait added a teen driving program to the sheriff’s department. This notification system is called Sheriffs Telling Our Parents and Promoting Educated Drivers (STOPPED) and is offered through Michigan Sheriffs Association. STOPPED provides parents of teen drivers under age 18 with stickers for their vehicles, and these stickers require law enforcement officers to notify the parents if their son or daughter is pulled over.

County sheriff is a position that Mr. Strait considers to be positive and respectable. One way that he sought integrity in the sheriff’s office was to meet the core jail standards from the American Correctional Association in the Mackinac County Jail. To gain an accreditation from the ACA, Mr. Strait and his staff had to make changes to increase safety and livability in the facility, such as checking locking mechanisms and refining the procedures of transporting and moving prisoners. In 2009, the county jail received the recognition from the ACA, the first in the nation to do so, as a result of the modifications.

While the jail has a national accreditation, Mr. Strait has begun to address the age of the jail, which is 40 years old, by forming a citizens committee, comprised of the prosecutor, public defender, school superintendent, and other community members, to research and explore how to proceed with either maintaining the jail, renovating it, or building a new one. Some of the questions Mr. Strait and the committee are discussing include what will make the citizens the safest and what the most economical solution for the jail is.

The words that Mr. Strait used to describe his work are passion and humility.

“Thirty-two years is a long time to be doing something and still be passionate about it, and I am,” said Mr. Strait of his work in law enforcement.

Mr. Strait became involved in law enforcement as a canine officer. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Lake Superior State University in 1984. In 1980, Mr. Strait took a position as reserve officer in Grand Traverse County. Then in 1986, he became a resident deputy for Mackinac County assigned to Curtis and then a deputy in Cedarville and Hessel. In 2001, he obtained a master’s in public administration from Northern Michigan University. In 2005, he began his first term as the Mackinac County sheriff.

As sheriff, Mr. Strait has focused on training his deputies as well as himself through seminars, such as a marine safety workshop in St. Ignace this past spring in which 36 deputies from across the state participated.

Mr. Strait, who is a certified police officer, also holds certifications in advance accident investigation, hazmat response, child forensic interviewing, snowmobile patrol operations, drug interdiction, United States Coast Guard national search and rescue, firefighting, unified incident command, national incident management system levels, campus violence response planning, and sobriety testing. He is a certified instructor in firearms and deadly force, pursuit and emergency driving, tactical communications, American Red Cross first aid, and CPR/AED.

Mr. Strait is the troop committee chair for the Les Cheneaux Boy Scout Troop, compiles game statistics for the Cedarville football and girls’ basketball teams, belongs to the EUP Antique Equipment Association, and is a member of the Les Cheneaux Sportsman’s Club.

He has been married to his wife, Lisa, for 27 years, and they have two children, Jacob, 19, and Jennifer, 17.

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