DEARBORN — Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington is running in the August 2 primary election to keep his position leading the sheriff’s office in the populous southeast Michigan county.
Washington was appointed in January 2021 following the passing of former Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon.
Washington, with 39 years of experience in law enforcement, started his career in the Detroit Police Department before he began working for the Sheriff’s Office.
“I’m a native Detroiter, 39 years in law enforcement covering Wayne County,” Washington told The Arab American News. “I was in the Detroit Police Department as well as the Wayne County Sheriff’s office, and my undersheriff was born and raised in Dearborn and came up in the Detroit Police Department. He then transferred over to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office at the request of Benny Napoleon and he’s been serving this community for 28 years.”
That’s what we do as law enforcement officers; we take care of the citizens in whichever municipality or agency that we work for. I’ve had a chance to see that and I’ve had a chance to do that. — Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington
Together, Washington and his undersheriff, Mike Jaafar, have served the community in law enforcement for 30 plus years.
“We came up together in the Detroit Police Department as well,” Washington said of Jaafar. “So we know each other and we work well together. That’s just a win for the community that we’re serving now.”
With his aim to put citizens first, Washington says he is prepared to take care of the community upon retaining his seat.
“That’s what we do as law enforcement officers; we take care of the citizens in whichever municipality or agency that we work for,” Washington said. “I’ve had a chance to see that and I’ve had a chance to do that.”
Washington is actively working towards providing citizens with necessary resources, including increased police presence and familiarity in communities.
Sheriff opens first satellite station in Dearborn
To further accomplish these goals, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office opened the first satellite police station in Dearborn on July 27 to assist Dearborn residents with any concerns or issues they may have.
This station is located at 15101 Michigan Avenue, inside the state-of-the-art Metrotech Automotive Group building.
The Sheriff’s Office held an unveiling for the new station, attended by several local officials and area law enforcement partners. Speakers included Washington, Dearborn Mayor Hammoud, Undersheriff Jaafar, Wayne County Director of Homeland Security Sam Jaafar, Wayne County Commissioner Sam Beydoun and more.
“We’re super excited that Dearborn is one of the first satellite campuses that are popping up throughout Wayne County; we’re excited for the collaboration and the fostering of the environment that can come out of this opportunity and hopefully leading to greater public safety (throughout our neighborhoods),” Hammoud said at the unveiling of the station.
The station will house deputies who can provide information to residents, file reports if necessary and create a sense of police familiarity in the community.
Photos: Unveiling event for the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office satellite station inside the Metrotech Automotive Group building on Michigan Avenue in Dearborn. All photos courtesy of Abbas M. Shehab
Washington shared that if Dearborn residents cannot get to the Dearborn Police Department, the satellite station is available to them as the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office for any law enforcement needs they may have.
Jaafar added that community policing is also important.
“We’re going into overdrive in terms of community policing and making sure the community has a good relationship with the Sheriff’s Office to understand who they are dealing with county wide,” he said.
Washington is strongly urging Wayne County residents to vote on August 2. He advised that voting in this primary election is crucial.
“August 2, we need to vote,” Washington said. “Everyone needs to understand that this is the election, not the general election in November. If you wait till that election, it won’t include us; it won’t be the person that you necessarily want it to be.”
Bottom line is if you’re going to run for office, you should have a track record. — Wayne County Undersheriff Mike Jaafar
The primary election includes Washington and two other candidates, Walter Epps and Joan Merriewether.
Jaafar encourages citizens to vote for the candidate who is equipped with the experience of being a sheriff like Washington has.
“Bottom line is if you’re going to run for office, you should have a track record,” he said.
Washington is confident in his and Jaafar’s capability to support and provide for the community with their combined background and experience in law enforcement.
“I just want to speak to the citizens of Dearborn and Wayne County to let them know that they don’t have to decide on who needs to be their sheriff,” Washington said. “You have a Sheriff Raphael Washington and you have an Undersheriff Mike Jaafar, who are homegrown career law enforcement officers in Wayne County who have never stopped working for the people.”