Stark County chief sheriff’s deputy Michael McDonald is running for sheriff in the next election. Current Sheriff Tim Swanson promised his full support.
CANTON Sheriff Tim Swanson plans to retire when his term ends and is supporting his chief deputy’s bid for the agency’s top post.
Swanson said Thursday morning that he is backing Michael A. McDonald, who plans to run for the term that starts in January 2013.
“I absolutely support him,” Swanson said. “He’ll be a grand choice. He’s very honest, very dependable. I would urge my supporters to get behind him and give him the support he’ll need. It’s going to be tough times with the economy and the budget crisis.”
Swanson, a Democrat, has held the post since replacing Sheriff Bruce Umpleby, who died in 1999.
Swanson was elected sheriff in 2000. He won his third four-year term in November 2008.
He retired Dec. 31, 2008. He returned a day later, Jan. 1, 2009, under a provision that allowed him to be re-hired. The practice — legal but often criticized — allows recipients to collect retirement pay and a current paycheck.
McDonald, also a Democrat, announced his decision to seek office Thursday.
“I look forward to working hard to get laid-off officers back on the job and get inmates back in the jail where they belong,” he said.
In recent months, county officials have cut the sheriff’s department budget. Forty-one 41 deputies, corrections officers, clerks and other staff members were laid off in December, leaving the department with 180 employees, 70 fewer than it had in January 2008.
Swanson has said that residents’ calls for help would fall onto a priority list, with incidents involving a lack of violence, a suspect having left the area or a non-life-threatening emergency falling to the bottom of the list.
A 300-inmate cap was placed on the jail so there would be enough jail personnel to safely manage them. Just six months earlier, the jail boasted a population of more than 420 inmates.
Jail paperwork indicates that some inmates are released due to overcrowding conditions.
McDonald oversees the jail. He has worked in the patrol, civil, radio and jail divisions, and he has held supervisory roles under the last three sheriffs.
He began his career under Sheriff George Papadopulos, who became sheriff in 1967. McDonald was an explorer deputy at age 18 and, at 21, he became a reserve deputy. He has been a full-time deputy since August 1981.
Sheriff J. Babe Stern promoted him to sergeant on March 3, 1988; Umpleby promoted him to lieutenant on March 10, 1994, and then to captain on Nov. 19, 1995; and Swanson promoted him to major on April 27, 2000, and then chief deputy on May 18, 2006.
He retired on Nov. 28, 2008, and was rehired by Swanson on Dec. 1, 2008, county records show.
A certified trainer for law enforcement and corrections officers, he graduated from the Northwestern University Police Staff and Command. He has completed many management classes required by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy, and he has been involved recently in helping the Crisis Center train officers from most police departments and colleges in the county in Crisis Intervention.
Page 2 of 2 - He and his wife of 32 years, Judy, are the parents of two children, now adults.