Rotarian John Godfrey introduced Sheriff Matt Saxton. Sheriff Saxton grew up in Homer, Michigan. He graduated from Lake Superior State University. During his time there, he met his wife, Heidi. They are married with three children.
Sheriff Saxton has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in Corrections. He also is a graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety, School of Police Staff and Command and a graduate from the FBI National Academy.
Collaboration was the underlying theme of his discussion. Matt acknowledged working together closely with the police departments throughout Calhoun County, especially Battle Creek and Marshall Police Departments and the Michigan State Police. He also discussed working closely with support agencies such as Summit Pointe, Substance Abuse Council and the Haven of Rest.
Seventy percent of Matt’s time is devoted to managing and overseeing the Calhoun County Jail. Often referred to as the “new jail” is it 24 years old! It is a 600-bed facility and current occupancy is at 521 residents. The budget for the jail is $12 million of which $5 million is earned from leasing bed space to other regions in addition to housing ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) detainees. He noted that altogether there are 40 different nationalities represented. There are 120 employees assigned to the jail, along with 76 who are involved with law enforcement.
Matt sites the biggest threats today are the increasing levels of heroin deaths and overdoses. Meth labs are still present but are declining. The unsecured borders of the United States are key to the increase in drugs – – all of which are grown in other regions.
Matt closed his talk with a call to all of us to keep all men and women in uniform in our prayers and thoughts. There have been 135 police officers killed in the line of duty in 2016 with five killed already in 2017.
Thanks to Sheriff Saxton for joining us this week!