Lake County Sheriff Working To Bring Diversity To Department Road Patrols

The Lake County Sheriff is working to bring more diversity to road patrols.

Sheriff Richard Martin is in the process of moving an African American officer to road patrol.

The Sheriff is asking county commissioners to allow the department to pay for the officer’s academy tuition through road patrol general funds.

9&10’s Taylor Jones was in Lake County, trying to find out why having a minority on patrol is a priority.

Currently all Lake County road patrol deputies are white.

The community has asked the sheriff to bring more diversity to the department.

“When I get concerns from the community, I want to try and address it,” says Sheriff Martin.

Currently nine percent of Lake County’s population is African American, which is higher than surrounding counties like Manistee, Mecosta, and Wexford County.

“I think when the department matches the community, they can relate to the department. The more that we’re out there, the more we are trying to do what the community wants and also protects its citizens,” says Martin.

The Sheriff plans to take one of his correction officers, Rishawn Easley, put him through police academy, and get him on the road.

“My plan is to actually ask the county commissioners to allow me to pay for his tuition and his salary, take that out of our road patrol general fund,” says Martin.

Officer Easley is excited for this opportunity.

“Some people may feel like they are not being represented in some aspect. To even be asked to step up and to try to fill that role is huge, and I think we’re going to do a good job,” says Easley.

Community members like Shawn Coffey are happy the Sheriff is taking a step to diversify the department.

“Everybody wants to feel comfortable regardless if you’re at home, you want to eat your favorite food, if you’re out abroad, then you accept your atmosphere. By him showing us, the community, that he’s willing to step in that direction, I think it’s a beautiful thing,” says Coffey.

The sheriff is in the process of giving the proposal to the county.