Bouchard retains position as sheriff of Oakland County

By: Mike Koury | Online Only | Published November 9, 2016

Michael Bouchard has been re-elected as Oakland County sheriff, a position he’s held since 1999.

Receiving more than 59 percent of the vote with all 520 precincts reporting, Bouchard defeated his challenger, former Ferndale mayor Craig Covey, 375,308 votes to 257,759 votes.

“I’m certainly very appreciative of all our support,” Bouchard said of his win. “And not just on Election Day, but in general. They really do support the men and women of law enforcement, and it means a lot. It really does.”

Bouchard said he knew this was a divisive election season and that many voters would vote straight-ticket. But Bouchard said it was the everyday work of his team at the Sheriff’s Office that helped him win.

“They do really good work every day that reflects extremely well on me,” he said. “When people think of the Sheriff’s Office, they’re thinking of the good men and women they’ve encountered, and the work that they’ve done, and as a result, they cast the favorable sunshine on me, and I’m appreciative of that.”

With the win in hand, Bouchard now can focus on the next four years on the job. One of the areas he wants to focus on in the near- and long-term future is training and training facilities.

“Men and women on the street face more instantaneous, challenging circumstances than ever, and one of the things I want to make sure is that they have the kind of real-life, scenario-based training to equip them with both the skills, the judgement and the equipment to make the best choice in that instant to protect all lives,” he said.

On the flip side, Covey said, even though he lost, he felt good because he accomplished what he wanted to do in this race.

“(That) was to give voters a choice in that race, and I wanted to raise a couple of issues that were pretty important, the most important being the ongoing heroin epidemic in the county, and the sheriff has basically said he’s going to focus like a laser beam on that issue,” Covey said. “I advocated for decriminalization of marijuana. I think, over time, that’s going to occur as well, but I feel pretty good. I’m very content that I was able to give voters a choice.”

Covey said he sent a congratulatory message to Bouchard over Facebook. Covey said he knew it “was an absolute steep climb” for any Democrat to take on Bouchard.

“I didn’t really run in order to expect to win,” he said. “I ran in order to make sure that voters had a choice in that race, and I wanted to raise the issues that I mentioned. … I also thought it was important to talk about diversity, suggesting that the Sheriff’s Office open up and seek out more minority recruits and focus on community policing that would perhaps assist in some of the issues around community distrust of law enforcement, and the issues around that.”