Coffee with the Candidates: Lt. Bill Redman 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 Monday, she shared her conversation with Lt. Bill Redman.
Maureen McFadden: You've been with the county police force for 23 years. Why do you want to be sheriff?
Lt. Bill Redman: I think it's time for a different direction with the Sheriff's Department. I believe that I can make a big difference here in the community. My work with local youth and throughout the community over the years, I think it's time we have a sheriff who's more involved in the community and interacts with our community on a day-to-day basis, to ultimately make it a safer place for all of us to live.
McFadden: You've worked with the youth for a very long time.
Redman: Twenty of those 23 years I spent in the local schools. I was a DARE officer for 18 years, in and out of the schools on a day-to-day basis, talking to our youth about making good decisions, and letting them know that there is a consequence for every decision they make, whether it is good or bad. So I think it's important we interact with the local youth, continue our program which is DARE, increase our school resource officers and visibility around the school with the issues that are going on nationally with our schools and school safety.
McFadden: What's your thought about arming teachers with guns?
Redman: Well, I fortunately have had the opportunity to work with many teachers over the years, and I consider them my friends and colleagues because of that experience I had with DARE and as a school resource officer. So we’ve had these conversations. I can tell you I don't believe and the local teachers that I work with do not believe arming teachers is the solution, but it's extremely important that it's our role in law enforcement to make sure that our schools are safe.
McFadden: What are the challenges you face as sheriff in trying to curb crime?
Redman: That's where I believe I differ from the other candidates that are running for sheriff is the fact that I want to be more involved in the community and help educate the community about the violence that’s taken place and different avenues of where we can partner with other organizations. The GVI, for instance, the Gun Violence Intervention program, I just met with some individuals involved in that and currently the Sheriff's Department has no involvement, and that's where I would like to step up and be involved and help to, hopefully, decrease the amount of violence we see here in our community.
Redman: How do we make it so people will see the police as someone they can talk to and they can trust?
Redman: In order to build that trust relationship with our community is be involved
in the community. We're just like everybody else, but sometimes people are afraid to come to the police and talk to us because of fear. Especially, I can give you an example: the Hispanic community, issues with immigration, and ICE detainers, and things like that, they are less likely to come to the police and report crimes and other issues going on.
McFadden: Why should people vote for you?
Redman: I believe all people should vote for me for sheriff because I am an extremely dedicated and hardworking individual. I come from a blue-collar family. I’ve worked my way through the ranks through the police department. I've always treated people fair, and I believe that I am the person to lead this department in a positive direction in the future and being more involved in the community and thus making it a safer place for all of us.
Our thanks to Allie's Cafe in Mishawaka for graciously opening their restaurant for our "Coffee with the Candidates."