Grand Traverse County residents have two options other than incumbent Tom Bensley when it comes to the 2020 election for sheriff. Scott Sieffert is his primary challenger; Greg Hall is the general election challenger. Both Sieffert and Hall are running because they’re not happy with the job that Bensley has done. You’re already winners, gentlemen, just for trying.
It will be interesting to me what effect all of the COVID closures will end up having on elections. Will incumbents be more likely to win because challengers can’t get their message out? A challenger has a harder time making the incumbent answer for their prior behavior without the public forums.
Here are some questions sheriff Bensley should have to answer to:
- There is an alarming suicide rate at your jail. What personal responsibility do you, Sheriff Bensley, have for it? Why was your answer to the suicide problem to allow Todd Ritter to make a controversial hire?
- Speaking of Todd Ritter, what conversations have you had with anyone about the fact that he has not been charged? Have you joked about it? Do you believe that he should be charged?
- What harm do cameras do? If they do so much harm that you refuse to get them, why aren’t you preaching to other police departments that they are causing harm by using cameras?
- Do you regret calling members of the public “fish in a barrel” for ticket revenue?
- How many of your own have been investigated and/or disciplined for misconduct in your latest tenure in office? What for?
- In what ways do you believe your department could improve? What steps have you taken?
- What is the constitutional right to be free from unlawful interference from police? What does that mean to you?
- What is a Terry stop? When can the police search a vehicle or a home without a search warrant? What constitutional amendments are relevant to you as a police officer?
- Do you believe that the courts should be allowed to raise their own operating revenue through convictions and subsequent fines and costs?
- Why didn’t you/don’t you clearly answer if and how you are enforcing the large number of COVID-19 mandates?
- Why do you wear sweatshirts without sleeves?
- Who do you think would get a higher rating on hot or not — Larry Inman or Wayne Schmidt?
Reading through the Record Eagle article, so much of what Bensley claims are his accomplishments, like the increased mental health services in the jail, he did reluctantly, kicking and screaming really. Sieffert brings some big credentials to his candidacy, and both challengers have open eyes to the real problems in law enforcement and Bensley’s failed leadership. We can only hope that the public is listening.