You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 3:10 p.m.

Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office tells its own stories in 'Beyond the Badge'

By John Counts

The Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office is taking the public “Beyond the Badge” in a new web-based show premiering Sunday at 7:30 p.m. on its website.

The goal is to expose the public to the men and women of the sheriff’s office, from deputies on the road to community corrections officers at the jail, said Derrick Jackson, the department’s Director of Community Engagement.

“It’s about the people who do the job,” he said.

Jackson said when he came into the department as a civilian - he’s now also a police officer - he heard a story about a deputy who was called to help a drowning 2-year-old who subsequently died. Right after that call, the deputy had to immediately go on a call to investigate a home invasion.

Jackson said he found the story remarkable and wanted to share stories like it with the public. Officials thought a web-TV show would be a great way to do it.

Unlike the popular, long-running television show, “Cops,” which focuses on criminals and crimes, “Beyond the Badge” will focus less on the salacious and more on the service of the department’s employees.

“We have been trying to figure out a way to share the stories of the people who do the job,” Jackson said.

A “unique” partnership was struck with the LaFontaine Automotive Group and talks began about five months ago with filming taking place over the past three to four weeks, Jackson said.

LaFontaine is footing the entire bill for the web series. Jackson wasn’t sure what that cost was. A call to LaFontaine Friday was not immediately returned.

Jackson said the partnership is just one more example of how the sheriff’s office is getting together with private businesses in the community.

“This isn’t the only one,” Jackson said, adding that it is the most high profile, though.

Numerous businesses have donated to an Ypsilanti Township bike patrol over the years, said Jackson, including Sesi, Round Haus Pizza, White Hayes Passino, Aubree’s Pizza, Woodards American Auto Parts, Budget/Stadium Towing, Ypsilanti Import Auto Sales, Eric Investments, Target II Party Store, Bobby Smiths Corvette Shop and Coaches.

The yearly Shop with a Cop event and Community Engagement Golf outing are also sponsored by local businesses, Jackson said.

There is already one snippet that appears on the website, www., which includes a greeting from Sheriff Jerry Clayton.

John Counts covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Tue, Aug 27, 2013 : 1:10 a.m.

All you have to do is come to one of their awards ceremony to see for yourself some of the meritorious awards to those who did go above and beyond. I heard a few and am amazed.

Tony Rizzo

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 5:51 p.m.

Thank you officers for your dedications. Great show.


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 3:15 a.m.

There is some good and some bad. The majority of officers in any given department are okay. The rest can do absolutely anything they wish (outside of sexual indiscretions, of course) and often go out of control. This was most notably true 40-45 years ago. At the time, the Washtenaw County Sheriff Department was beyond being a disgrace. They simply vilified a particular subculture and parlayed the derision foisted on this group into violent acts. Hippies were often singled out, wrongly imprisoned, brutalized, and outright terrorized. This was not unique to this county, but a certain sheriff was notorious for this type of practice, and it went on constantly. And, worst yet, it was against a "type" that was largely nonviolent and not dangerous, although there were most certainly exceptions. We must be careful when assuming the police are 100% just and fair and ensuring the safety of all citizens. There are wide variations on the theme.

Boo Radley

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:36 p.m.

If you have to go back 45 years to find a problem with local law enforcement, I think the department must be doing fine.

Resident A2

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 12:24 a.m.

What a great job on filming this episode. It heartens me to know how much our police men and women care about trying to help criminals be a little bit better than when they came to their jail. I give these men and women so much credit for putting their lives on the line everyday to make our city safer. Hooray for all of you!!!


Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 11:50 p.m.

Ok...the first episode got my attention. I want to see more.


Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 10:36 p.m.

So, it's web-based but it can only be seen at 7:30 on Sunday? (like a broadcast TV show?) Or can we watch it whenever we want to?

John Counts

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 4:36 p.m.

You can watch it whenever you want here: I believe the episodes premiere at 7:30 on Sundays, then are always available afterward.

Resident A2

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 12:40 a.m.

I just watched it by clicking on "its website" in the article.


Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 2:15 p.m.

When a cop pulls you over, do you think, "Oh good, I'm about to be served and protected"?


Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 2:49 p.m.

It's the insurance companies that are being served and protected.........

Boo Radley

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 1:33 p.m.

It is the other people on the road who are being served and protected from bad/dangerous/inattentive drivers.

Greg Guro

Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 8:03 a.m.

If I ever wanted to commit a serious crime, I'd go with Ann Arbor. They side more with the criminals and make it near impossible to file a police report. There is a rapid heroin epidemic, there's a gypsy cap rape story and I myself had these #$#$ hats destroy my case and send me a vile response back to a complaint. They don't serve and protect anything but themselves and not the public. They are inocmeptent. Look at the serial rapist and what? what? did they catch him? What about this murder that went national? nope..because they have no clue what they are doing, and this is emblematic of them on other issues as well. They are total idiots. Their chief of police and mayor should resign in disgrace.

Resident A2

Mon, Aug 26, 2013 : 12:38 a.m.

Wow, your paragraph doesn't even make sense. Perhaps you could clarify some of your sentences. Are you talking about "rampant" or "rapid" heroin epidemic? You have made statements regarding "serial" rapists and a murder that went national. What is that about??

Nicholas Urfe

Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 2:28 a.m.

Will they tell the story of the woman who claimed to have $20 stolen from her car in the sheriff deptartment's parking lot? She reported it and they examined the parking lot security video, but then they refused to release the video.


Sun, Aug 25, 2013 : 2:14 a.m.

I was surprised by the quality of it. Looking forward to seeing a full episode.

Linda Peck

Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 9:47 p.m.

John, this looks good. I hope you do a follow-up story with the first episode.


Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 8:15 p.m.

Jackson said when he came into the department as a civilian - he's now also a police officer That was because the Sheriff's Dept. paid for him to go to police academy. It doesn't mean he has actually worked as a law enforcement officer.


Sat, Aug 24, 2013 : 7:47 p.m.

Our WC sheriffs are awesome!!