A Proven Record of Accomplishment, Vision and Service Excellence
Took the WCSO which had a terrible reputation, was involved in multiple lawsuits against the county, had deputies being charged with civil rights violations, budget overruns every year and an unsustainable funding model and turned it around.
He led the agency turnaround creating fiscal responsibility, collaboration with county and local governments, stabilized the budget, instituted pro-active cultural change and an agency respected not just on a local, but also a state, national and even international level because of its progressive, community oriented, service focus.
Sheriff Clayton brought all the parties involved to the table and line by line developed the cost and price of contract police services for the county which was agreed to by all parties and ended years of fighting and lawsuits.
Sheriff Clayton began analyzing all operations for cost effectiveness and positive community impact. As a result, the WCSO has been able to return millions of dollars to the county budget to support human servicer initiatives benefiting our residents.
Sheriff Clayton developed and led the passage of a Police Services Mental Health Millage which relieved the pressure on local government budgets to fund public safety while simultaneously building systems so that police are better trained and better prepared when they come in contact with people in need and people suffering from mental health challenges or in crisis would receive help.
The WCSO under Sheriff Clayton’s leadership continues to evaluate operations for impact and cost effectives to ensure the best use of taxpayer dollars.
LEADING THROUGH VISION, COLLABORATION AND INTEGRITY
Sheriff Clayton believes in co-producing public safety and the importance of collaborating with governmental, non-profit, faith based and community partners.
He created a vision of the WCSO as a county-wide root-cause, quality of life as well as a public safety organization with service and community engagement as its foundation.
Sheriff Clayton built inter-agency law enforcement collaborations.
He led the creation of Washtenaw County Metro Dispatch which dispatches for 80% of county residents. This improved the quality of dispatching services throughout the county while providing substantial savings to the local law enforcement agencies and their funding municipalities.
Sheriff Clayton also led the consolidation of multiple law enforcement services by creating an Interagency Collaborative Team. Metro SWAT was formed to ensure that a well-trained team was available if a crisis should occur without the county having to sustain multiple teams. The Crisis Negotiation Team was again consolidated to save costs while providing a better trained response. The K-9 team was also consolidated.
The WCSO negotiated long term rolling contracts between the County, the WCSO and the Townships so that all parties would able to anticipate, plan and best serve residents.
Sheriff Clayton not only worked to build trust with other governmental agencies but also our communities and residents.
When one of our communities was experiencing serious quality of life and public safety issues, the WCSO brought landlords, the residents and human service organizations together to develop action plans.
Sheriff Clayton has committed to culture change within the WCSO.
When Sheriff Clayton first took office, there were multiple deputies under indictment after a tragic incident. The deputies who went to trial were acquitted. Sheriff Clayton ensured that they received a level of accountability by instituting internal investigations which led to the firing of all but one deputy who was demoted.
Sheriff Clayton has implemented training to support service excellence and procedural justice. These trainings include: De-Escalation, Anti-Bias, Cultural Competence, and mental health recognition and response. These trainings are open to other county law enforcement agencies.
The WCSO under Sheriff Clayton’s leadership has developed processes to promote staff which is Assessment Center based and which recognizes and rewards service and community engagement commitment.
Hiring processes were developed which were designed to hire the best possible staff and which included a psychological evaluation as well as a detailed background check and multiple senior staff interviews.
Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders are two major challenges facing our county residents as well as the nation. Sheriff Clayton has been deeply involved in address these issues and working to save lives. The WCSO was the first law enforcement agency in the County to have deputies trained in partnership with Community Public Health to administer Naloxone to save lives when there is an overdose, as our Deputies are often the first responders on site and every minute can count.
The WCSO participates in the County Naloxone Task Force.
The WCSO and Sheriff Clayton have built a long collaborative relationship with Community Mental Health. CMH provides assessment and care for those with mental health challenges while they are in the WCSO jail and continuity of services when they leave.
The partnership between Sheriff Clayton and CMH led to the Police Services Community Mental Health Millage which has provided additional funding for people struggling with mental health issues or in crisis.
Sheriff Clayton’s administration finished the construction of a jail and court building which had been approved and begun when first taking office.
The WCSO jail and Corrections Division is now recognized state and international for its excellence. Other agencies from across the country and other nations have sent staff to observe and learn how our jail is run. A goal of the WCSO Jail is to have everyone who leaves our jail to do so better off than when they came in.
Sheriff Clayton himself is a local, state, national and international recognized expert in community policing, Corrections and multiple subject matter areas such as immigration enforcement.
Sheriff Clayton was chosen to chair MCOLES, the body that oversees officer training for the State. He was selected by Governor Whitmer to sit on her Task Force on Pretrial Incarceration and helped design much needed reforms. He sits on the NYU Law Schools Advisory Board for the Policing Project and was selected as a founding member of the Council on Criminal Justice, one of the leading think tanks on criminal justice policy. Sheriff Clayton sits on the VERA Institute of Justice Police Program Steering Committee. He is a member of the NACO task force studying inmate health care and recidivism. Sheriff Clayton was chosen by the United Nations High Commission on Human Rights to represent the United States at a Community Policing in Geneva Switzerland. Sheriff Clayton is an expert on criminal justice reform and his voice is shaping that work all over the country in addition to leading reform here in Washtenaw County.
The Sheriff also sits on multiple community boards, which include SafeHouse Domestic Violence Center, NAMI, the Washtenaw Area Council for Children, the Continuum of Care (low cost and affordable housing collaborative) and Success by Six Early Childhood Collaborative.
BUILDING STRONG AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES THROUGH COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
One of the very first things that Sheriff Clayton did was to hire a social worker and grass roots community organizer as his Director of Community Engagement. Making this position a Director level put it on equal footing with the Commander of Police Services or Corrections.
Sheriff Clayton has a pro-active social justice approach to public safety believing that addressing root causes helps prevent crime while improving group and individual lives.
Through a Federal Grant the WCSO created a Community Engagement Outreach Team. This team is primarily made up of formerly incarcerated individuals who have turned their lives around and want to give back to their community. They provide connections to members of the community who may not necessarily trust government institutions helping them access needed services, while obtaining job experience which helps them become contributing residents of the county.
The SURE Moms Group was created to help mothers of criminal justice involved youth to support their children and each other and deal with the trauma that almost all the mothers have undergone.
The EASY Project which involved making sure that all the women who are arrested in prostitution stings were diverted into counseling and normally drug addiction programming.
Peer 2 Peer program where mentors showing people the right way so they never wind up re-victimizing someone and don’t end up back in the jail.
The WCSO created the “Just Cause” pizza and discussion groups to bring together community members and law enforcement officers to gt to know and understand each other.
WCSO deputies visit and mentor young people incarcerated at the Youth Center.
Ballin’ in the Willow, Boulevard, Hikone, Sugarbrook and South Side.
The WCSO partnered with Community Family Life Centers, Washtenaw Literacy and other partners to create a computer and literacy lab providing literacy tutoring, GED prep, computer skills training.
The WCSO in partnership with the Ypsi Community Schools helped to start the “Grizzly Center” which utilizes Restorative Practices to reduce suspensions and increase positive relationships within the school.
Sheriff Clayton helps to sponsor and partners with community organizations to hold the annual Ypsilanti Area Community Holiday Dinner – feeding around 500 people a free holiday dinner with volunteer wait staff.
Sheriff Clayton helped to start and has supported the annual Warm Coat, boots and clothing drive making sure that no child stays home because they do not have adequate clothing.
The WCSO and Sheriff Clayton sponsor the annual Reunification Holiday Dinner and Event which brings families together when one family member is incarcerated. Every inmate is able to provide gifts to his family members.
The WCSO under Sheriff Clayton’s leadership has expanded its Shop with a Cop Program so that over 200 children on the east and west sides are able to purchase family gifts and also receive free coats, hats, gloves, underwear and socks.
The WCSO runs a free book cart in its lobby, encouraging people to read to their children and take a book(s) home.
The WCSO jail works with Washtenaw Literacy to provide tutoring in the jail and do GED prep and testing. Washtenaw Literacy provides continuity of tutoring after people leave our jail.
Sheriff Clayton, WCSO staff and MY Brother’s Keeper partnered during Covid-19 to deliver food to seniors and basic supplies at community locations throughout the county.
Sheriff Clayton has provided a number of Community Education Series events on important topics such as Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders, partnering with experts in the field and continued these updates during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The WCSO holds 3-4 Citizens Police Academies free to the public so residents can learn more about what the WCSO does.
The WCSO also created a Junior Police Academy for young people to learn about law enforcement and the WCSO.
Sheriff Clayton supports numerous youth and education programs through local churches and non-profits.
The Sheriff in partnership with the County Parks and Rec Program helped to implement and continues to support three free summer recreation programs, which have expanded to include tutoring and social emotional skill building and anger management for approximately 150 elementary age children.
Sheriff Clayton and the WCSO partner to support a tutoring program for second and third graders in Ypsi Community Schools.
Sheriff Clayton was the driving force in partnership with the County and MiWorks to begin a enhanced summer employment program for young people. The WCSO hired a number of these young people.
Sheriff Clayton has collaborated with and helped to sponsor “ Movie Nights” in Sugarbrook and on the Southside.
Sheriff Clayton and the WCSO are part of Washtenaw Alive, the County suicide prevention coalition.
The Sheriff’s Office collaborated with Reinhart Realty to create packets of socks, hats, mittens, scarves and resource info which deputies provide to people in need they encounter in the community.
The WCSO has partnered with MIWorks, the Defenders Office, the Prosecutors Office, Washtenaw Literacy and others to implement annual free Expungement Fairs with free attorneys, no charge for finger printing or filing fees.
The Sheriff’s Office is a partner in the Voting Access for All Coalition which is focused on making sure that people who have had contact with the Criminal Justice system but are not convicted or serving a sentence and therefore are eligible to vote, have information and access to registration and voting materials.