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Portage County Sheriff

Responsibilities: To provide services to the courts, to oversee the county jail, and to act as chief law enforcement officer for the county. Term: 4 years.

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    Greg Johnson
    (Dem)

  • Bruce D. Zuchowski
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

What are the current challenges facing the sheriff’s office, and how do you intend to address them?

What is the Sheriff’s Department role in dealing with issues of racism in Portage County?

Age 63
Education 1976 Graduate of Akron East High (class valedictorian) 1994 Graduate of SACS Police Academy (1st in class)
Training & Experience 24 years with the Portage County Sheriff's Office. Served as road Deputy, Sergeant, Lieutenant and Chief of the Detective Bureau. Extensive training in Homicide, Child Abuse, Cell Phone Forensic Investigations, Crisis Intervention and High Threats Trial procedures.
Some of the most important challenges are budgets, training, staffing and public trust. During my 24 years at the Sheriff's Office I earned a reputation as someone who has shown: integrity, transparency, truthfulness, honesty, leadership, and commitment to collaboration. I want the community and our local government officials to see these qualities reflected in the Sheriff's Office. Fiscal accountability will be a cornerstone of my administration. As we build community trust, that beneficial relationship between the Sheriff's Office and the public will help to support proper funding.

Staffing is one of the keys to a successful Sheriff's Office. Having programs in place to retain staff and recruit quality applicants is invaluable. It is also essential to have a well-trained and well-supervised operation. I am pleased that many of the goals that I stated for the Sheriff's Office since last year are aligned with many of the objectives being proposed across the state and county.
The role of the Sheriff's Office is similar to that of other law enforcement agencies with the additional responsibility of housing individuals who have been arrested and or sentenced to jail. We cannot ignore the presence of racism in our community and must always be alert to the effect of biases and of overt racism. Training is essential to be able to identify and to address racial bias. Having a diverse staff in the Road Patrol and Corrections operations also plays a key role. We need to reach out to the community and invite their engagement and feedback. It is important to encourage young citizen involvement in law enforcement operations to allow for an understanding of what we do and why we do it. We must make a commitment to transparency, collaboration and to the building of trust.

That all Portage County citizens, no matter what race or ethnic background, feel safe, secure and represented is tremendously important to me and would be a priority for my Sheriff's Office.
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