Coffee with the Candidates: Cmdr. Tim Corbett for St. Joseph Co. sheriff
There are three Democrats vying to take over the seat of current Democratic Sheriff Mike Grzegorek, who cannot run for another term.
The candidates are St. Joseph County Metro Homicide Commander Tim Corbett, Assistant County Police Chief Bill Thompson and Lt. Bill Redman of the St. Joseph County Police Department.
The one Republican candidate is unchallenged.
Maureen McFadden recently sat down to have "coffee with the candidates" and asked the questions that you, our viewer, care about.
On Tuesday, she shared her conversation with Cmdr. Tim Corbett.
Maureen McFadden: Why do you want to be sheriff?
Cmdr. Tim Corbett: I worked 43 year in my career going toward this goal. Mike Grezgorek has ran an excellent Sheriff's Department as far as I'm concerned, and I want to keep going with that, and I truly believe I'm the candidate to do that. I'm the person to be the leader, it's what I've done all my career.
McFadden: What specific challenges do you think you'll face as sheriff in regards to crime?
Corbett: I think the gang problem is paramount. Personally I'm tired of hearing them called "groups." They're gangs. I know when we had to cash out gang, my group, at homicide, ATF and FBI all combined with took 21 of those gangs off the street. Burglaries, robberies, murders all plummeted because of that. There are certain people that you can hug and get out of that, there's other people you just have to put them away because they're not going to change, they wake up every day thinking about crime, and they go to bed every night thinking about crime. My whole career is keeping people safe, and that's what I am going to continue to do.
McFadden: Do you think teachers should be armed?
Corbett: No, but you can talk about school safety, I do it. You can talk about school safety, I do it. You can always say what you're going to do. I've been doing it. I did every school in P-H-M for threat assessment, went through every school, wrote up a detailed report. I've trained their people, I've worked with their people and I continue to be their safety consultant
McFadden: But you would not arm teachers?
Corbett: No, I don't think I would arm teachers. What've I've already looked into and we're talking about, there's a lot of vets out there who've come back from overseas who are highly trained and want to help, so we're working on a goal to get those people involved. Their jobs a teacher and my job in the police department and these vets is to keep them safe.
McFadden: What do you do to try to get people to build trust with police officers and not be afraid to report crime?
Corbett: First off I don't believe there's that much mistrust. I believe, I think it's a misnomer that's been predicated on false information. From what I deal with, I get calls every day from the county jail from inmates that trust me. About 60 percent of our homicides are solved because of people who talk to me. People call 'em snitches, people call 'em informants. I call them people who want to help. To get people to trust you you just have to be honest.
McFadden: Why should people vote for you?
Corbett: Because I'm the best person for the job. Forty-three years of doing this, I've trained 10,000 police officers, 3,500 women in personal self-defense, testify at expert level. I already have all the connections with the drug enforcement unit, ATF, FBI, every agency here. I've been a leader since about my fifth year on the police department. I've worked my way up to patrolman to captain. I lead a multi-agency bureau right now, Mishawaka, county and South Bend police officers. National rates for solved rates on homicides is at 65; we've been up into the 90 percentile. I lead from the front of the pack. I don't talk about what I am going to do, I talk about what I have done.
On Monday evening's newscast,