Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Former Officer Jeff Morse - Benzie Sheriff candidate
- Former White Cloud police officer [ Newaygo County] - Fired in 1993 after altercation with City Clerk.
-Former East Jordan police officer [Charlevoix County] - Fired in 1995 after domestic violence assault on wife.
-Ran for Sheriff [Benzie County] - 2008
Sheriff candidate involved in 1995 assault
Traverse City Record-Eagle
July 30, 2008
By ART BUKOWSKI
BEULAH -- Jeff Morse had troubles in the past, but believes they'll help him provide well-rounded leadership if elected Benzie County sheriff.
The Lake Ann native and Republican candidate pleaded no contest to a charge of domestic violence in Antrim County after he assaulted his wife in 1995. Morse also was fired from the White Cloud police department in 1993 following an altercation with the city clerk, the former police chief there said.
Morse acknowledges White Cloud fired him following the run-in with the clerk, but he denies assaulting her. Morse also said he's ashamed of the 1995 assault on his now ex-wife, but that he learned from the incident.
"It's something that was part of my past; I'm not proud of it," Morse, 43, said. "However, it made me a better person."
Morse believes his experience with the criminal charge gives him a better understanding of "both sides" of the law enforcement process, along with more compassion for victims.
"I'm going to be a champion to the women of Benzie County when it comes to domestic violence," he said.
Morse briefly worked as a part-time officer for the East Jordan Police Department, but was fired from the department in 1995 because of the incident with his wife, officials there said.
Craig Grunow, who was police chief when Morse was fired from White Cloud, said he contacted the Michigan State Police to investigate after allegations of an assault on the city clerk surfaced. The city council fired Morse shortly after the incident, Grunow said.
Morse said he got in a "heated argument" with the clerk, but in "no way" touched or assaulted her.
"If there was an assault, the state police would have arrested me," he said.
Morse has been a paraprofessional at the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District's Career Tech Center for about five years, he said. He wants to improve the behavior of Benzie sheriff's deputies in the community.
"I want to instill back in the sheriff's department an attitude of customer service," he said. "People need to be treated with the utmost respect, and that's not happening."
Morse said he's struck a chord with voters through his desire to "change the culture" of the sheriff's department.
"I've got a huge base of support. People in this county want change, but they don't want somebody who's going to talk about change," he said. "They want somebody to walk the walk."