The Aug. 7 primary election is drawing closer every day, but how much do you really know about the names on the ballot?
Patch is interviewing candidates running in the Aug. 7 primary, including those running for Oakland County Sheriff.
The Nov. 6 general election could well end up a 2008 rematch between the second-time challenger, Democrat Jane Felice-Boudreau, and the incumbent, Republican Michael Bouchard.
Felice-Boudreau runs unopposed on the primary ballot, while the incumbent will face fellow Republican , Rochester Hills resident James Stevens, in the primary.
Family: Felice-Boudreau comes from a family of civil servers and office holders — in addition to counting cousin Virg Bernero (current Mayor of Lansing) and late aunt, Betty Fortino, (former Oakland County Commissioner and Waterford Township Clerk), she claims to have over 15 police officers in her family.
Education: Felice-Boudreau graduated from the Oakland Police Academy in 1986. She attended Oakland Community College and Rochester College.
Occupation: Felice-Boudreau most recently worked as an officer in the Holly Police Department, from 2006-09. Previous to that experience, she worked as Sergeant at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department from 1998-2006, a deputy from 1987-98, and a cadet in the Pontiac Police Department.
Residence: Felice-Boudreau has lived in West Bloomfield for 15 years.
Other activities or endorsements: Felice-Boudreau was president of the D.A.R.E. Officers Association of Michigan from 1999-2004 and on the West Bloomfield Zoning Board of Appeals from 2008-10. She then moved to the Oakland County Personnel Appeal Board from 2010-11.
Endorsements include U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, U.S. Congressman Gary Peters, five current Oakland County Commissioners, and West Bloomfield Township Trustee Gene Farber. Felice-Boudreau has also been endorsed by the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees.
Why are you running for sheriff?
Felice-Boudreau says simply that in her opinion, the incumbent, Republican Michael Bouchard, does not truly want to be Sheriff in lieu of possible future opportunities.
"The current sheriff has not spent the time required to fulfill the requirements of the job, he has also ran for United States Senate and Governor of Michigan while on the clock as sheriff. My career has and will always be law enforcement," Felice-Boudreau said.
Felice-Boudreau also aims to best understand cuts to the safety of local lakes, given cuts to the Marine Division and Water Rescue Unit in recent years.
"I will also take a look at the way the Oakland County Sheriff’s budget is allocated and ensure that the taxes that Oakland County citizens are paying will be utilized to the best of their ability," Felice-Boudreau said.
What are new ideas you would bring to the position/county?
Felice-Boudreau said that the best, new idea uses principles from a traditional law enforcement strategy — community policing.
She said that an added emphasis on community policing would allow police to understand community issues the same way that a citizen, who she refers to as a "customer," would.
"Currently there is a large divide between Oakland County citizens and the sheriff’s office, this type of policing tactic will eliminate this gap between the police of the county and the citizens that give them their power," Felice-Boudreau said. "I will guarantee to replace this connection with the community by leading with examples instead of orders."
What do you think are the biggest issues facing the county? How would you handle them?
Budget and economic problems which plague many public safety organizations are at the top of Felice-Boudreau's list, along with drug-related crime, and jail overcrowding.
"There have been cuts in drug awareness education and public safety while the Oakland County Sheriff’s vehicle force consists of a tank. This is not the best way to spend the money of our Oakland County citizens," Felice-Boudreau said.
In the wake of several K2-related incidents to crowd media in recent months, Felice-Boudreau counts upon her years experience in the D.A.R.E. program as key to understanding drug prevention education as key to stopping crimes before they start.
"The reimplementation of programs such as the Oakland County Regimented Boot Camp to prevent previous offenders returning to incarceration is one tactic that has been proven to work," Felice-Boudreau said on the topic of jail overcrowding. "Also working with the Oakland County district and circuit judges on alternative sentencing programs and rehabilitation programs to allow offenders to become assimilated with society is another solution."