DEARBORN – Local residents may see a familiar name on the 2012 Democratic ballot for Wayne County Sheriff in the voting booth for the August 7 primary, aside from longtime sheriff Benny Napoleon, that is.
|Hammoud: “I want to show Arab Americans that they have a voice, and that they can be a part of |
the politics and governing bodies of their state, city, and their nation.”
Mohamad “Mike” Hammoud, 32, a resident of Dearborn who grew up in Dearborn Heights and who currently serves as a deputy sheriff in the Wayne County Sheriff's office, has officially announced that he plans to run in the same race as his boss for the nomination. Hammoud will be on the ballot opposite his boss in hopes of winning the Democratic nomination and making it to the Nov. 6 general election. For Hammoud, the campaign is about starting a movement, and representing Arab Americans.
“We're getting out there trying to make a name for myself, we're trying to use this as a platform for becoming a community leader,” he said.
“We're doing this to empower the youth and all of the people of Wayne County, especially Arabic people...There's so much out there that shows us in a negative light, we need more people to shine a positive light on this community,” he said, stressing the importance of unity among all Wayne County residents.
In addition to his role as a deputy sheriff, Hammoud has also been a part of several inter-departmental task forces including fugitive apprehension with the United States Marshal’s Office, of the sheriff's special response team (commonly known as SWAT) as well as a Wayne County Friend of Court.
Hammoud said that he has faced some doubts and questioning about his decision to run for the post against a well known and respected incumbent but said that he believes it was the best decision for him and for the county.
“I look to up to Benny Napoleon, I think he's a great man and win or lose I hope I can do something with it to create a voice for the people...I'm not trying to say anything bad about Benny, he's a great sheriff, but what I know is I love law enforcement and Wayne County and I only want the better of it,” he said when asked about Napoleon and the decision to run. He's learned under Napoleon and also Deputy Chief Mike Jaafar, whom he called a “great community leader.”
Hammoud says he would offer a new perspective and several new plans to the department, utilzing skills learned from the diverse array of roles he's served in both on the ground and in the office.
“I think we need to restructure a little bit and get some fresh eyes in from the road,” he said.
“I've got plans to get the students and the working class more involved, I have a lot of different ideas such as expanding and adding more internships with college students, to get them more involved with opportunities that could lead to jobs for them later, and more” he said.
“I also am going to school in the criminal justice field and I see new age ideas coming out to combat crime in different ways...I want to restructure assistance agencies in Wayne County and work to make it a safer county for businesses to operate as well; we've had a loss in revenue with businesses leaving and the tax base taking a hit so we have to create a safe environment that would bring people in again.”
He also wants to find ways to use department grants more effectively and to expand road patrol specialty units in order to take the weight off of the shoulders of other departments.
Hammoud is a veteran of the Air Force, where he learned military policing and security, air base defense, and ground combat. He originally joined following the September 11 attacks as he felt a calling to serve his country, and eventually made the rank of Staff Sergeant while winning several awards and decorations for his service. Hammoud eventually received an active duty discharge.
Now, he's found himself back on his original career path as he continues to work toward fulfilling his lifelong goal of becoming Wayne County Sheriff, with the greater good in mind.
“I want to show Arab Americans that they have a voice, and that they can be a part of the politics and governing bodies of their state, city, and their nation,” he said.
“Wayne County is very diverse and I want to bring all of them together, so we can unite for the best interests of our region and move things forward.”
Hammoud has launched a website, www.mikeforsheriff.net and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also has a Twitter account, @SheriffHammoud.