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Published: Thursday, 3/1/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Sheriff, other candidates on Fulton Co. ballot

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Roy Miller. Roy Miller.
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For 28 years, Darrell Merillat has been the sheriff in Fulton County.

On Tuesday, voters will select a Republican nominee for chief law enforcement officer -- Chief Deputy Roy Miller and Delta Police Chief Rick Sluder are on the GOP ticket.

No Democrats are seeking the office, although independent Keith Torbet, police chief in Wauseon, has filed nominating petitions with the board of elections.

"I want to be the sheriff because we need a new direction in law enforcement here in Fulton County," Chief Sluder, 43, of Wauseon said. "Law enforcement needs to work together to accomplish more. We need to look more toward preventative measures. We need to look toward finding better ways to solve crimes."

Chief Sluder, who has been with the Delta police department for 21 years and is in his second year as chief, said he would like to have an investigator from each of the police agencies in the county meet once a week to talk about the cases they have, trends they're seeing, so they can work together to solve or prevent criminal activity.

Also the assistant fire chief in Wauseon, Chief Sluder said he would step up training for dispatchers at the county's 911 call center, including emergency medical training, so that they can "talk people through situations on the phone.

Rick Sluder. Rick Sluder.
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"Our people don't get that and I'm going to change that."

Chief Deputy Miller, 43, of Delta agreed that training personnel is a priority.

"I would like to see a little more training if the budget allows it for the dispatch center along with the road patrol," he said.

"We're a little different out here in that our office wears many hats as far as the deputies on the road are concerned. They process crime scenes versus larger departments who have [crime scene] technicians.

"I see some training for those guys so they can have the tools needed to do the job."

Chief Deputy Miller, who has been a full-time deputy with the sheriff's office since 1991, was named chief deputy by Sheriff Merillat in 2006. The sheriff, who decided not to run again for the position, encouraged Chief Deputy Miller to run for the top job and has endorsed his candidacy.

Chief Deputy Miller said he does not envision making major changes in the sheriff's office.

He said Fulton County voters elected Sheriff Merillat in 1984 and have re-elected him every four years since, "so he must be doing something right."

If he is elected, he said he'd like to sit down with the office's 30 full-time employees and talk about what the agency can do better. "I'm open to suggestions," he said.

The sheriff is paid $59,537 a year.

Three incumbent county officeholders also are being challenged in the GOP primary.

County Commissioner Dean Genter of Archbold will face William Rufenacht, owner of Bill's Locker Room in Archbold.

Prosecutor Scott Haselman of Swanton, who is seeking a second term, is being challenged by Delta attorney Stacey Burns.

Clerk of Courts Paul MacDonald will face Abigail Bieber.

No Democrats have filed to run for any of the offices, although independent candidates have until 4 p.m. Monday to file petitions to get on the November ballot.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.



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