Jerry Clayton is the Washtenaw County Sheriff. A Democrat, he was first elected in November 2008 in a countywide race, and re-elected in 2012. His current four-year term runs through 2016.

Jerry Clayton at an Oct. 10, 2012 League of Women Voters forum at the studios of Community Television Network.

Prior to his election, Clayton served in the sheriff's office for 20 years before retiring in 2006. His service included serving as the Washtenaw County Jail administrator just before his retirement. His career also included assignments/appointments as a Corrections Officer, Deputy Sheriff, Shift Sergeant, Operations Lieutenant, County Court Security Commander, SWAT Team Commander, Corrections Division Commander and Police Services Division Commander. 

Before running for sheriff, Clayton worked for an international law enforcement consulting firm, specializing in racial profiling issues.

Clayton stated his priorities in the 2008 race to be returning to a more community-policing, root causes approach, shifting away from the controversy of contract road patrols.

From Clayton's bio on the sheriff's office website:

He has been a certified criminal justice trainer and instructor for more than sixteen years, specializing in a multitude of subject areas including; use of force disciplines, physical training, special weapons and tactics, cultural diversity, preventing racial profiling, and in the areas of staff management and supervision, developing customer service delivery strategies, and organizational leadership. He provided consulting services to the U.S. Department of Justice- National Institute of Corrections, assisting in the development and delivery of various training curricula to local, state and federal correctional agencies throughout the United States.

Clayton lives in Ypsilanti Township with his wife, Sybil. The couple has three sons: Jerry Jr., Jeron and Jalen.


June 2014: Is named one of the 2014 Men of Excellence by the Michigan Chronicle.

December 2012: Is appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder to a 4-year term as a member of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. Serves as chair of that group.

Nov. 6, 2012: Defeats Republican Jeffrey Gallatin for a second four-year term as sheriff. Gets 115,819 votes (70.54%) compared to 47,630 votes (29.01%) for Gallatin. Clayton was unopposed in the August 2012 Democratic primary.

Jan. 1, 2009: Takes office as Washtenaw County sheriff.

November 2008: Wins election against Republican Dwayne Taylor for his first four-year term as sheriff. Gets 119,923 votes (70.85%) compared to 48,440 votes (28.62%) for Taylor.

August 2008: Defeats two-term incumbent sheriff Dan Minzey and challenger Iva Jo Bielec in the Democratic primary. Clayton gets 16,246 votes (54.05%) compared to 11,910 votes (39.63%) for Minzey and 1,871 votes (6.23%) for Bielec.

2006: Retires from Washtenaw County sheriff's office and becomes a partner and vice president of Lamberth Consulting LLC.

2001: Joins Lamberth Consulting LLCa company providing statistical analysis, training, and engagement services focused on addressing racial profiling and biased enforcement issues throughout the United States and Europe.

1990: Begins working as a consultant and trainer for the U.S. Justice Dept. His work includes helping to develop, design and deliver lesson plans for front line, supervisory, management criminal justice staff.

1986: Joins Washtenaw County sheriff's department.

DATE? Graduates from the Eastern Michigan University School of Staff and Command and from the SCH Executive Leadership program.

DATE? Graduates from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in organizational communications.

In the news

Proposal 1 is the only solution for our unsafe roads (column co-authored by Clayton) – Detroit Free Press, March 28, 2015

Ypsilanti officials explain roles, services of public safety departments at forum – MLive, Oct. 17, 2014

Forum Looks At Lessons From Ferguson – WEMU, Oct. 15, 2014

Meet & congratulate the 2014 Men of Excellence – Michigan Chronicle, June 3, 2014

Statement from Clayton at the start of his second term – Sheriff's office website, January 2013

Sheriff Jerry L. Clayton appointed to state law enforcement standards board – Heritage Newspapers, Dec. 2, 2012

Incumbent Sheriff Advocates for 2nd Term – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, Oct. 14, 2012

County sheriff race: Incumbent Jerry Clayton faces challenger Jeffrey Gallatin –, Oct. 13, 2012

The Price of Washtenaw Police Services – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, June 1, 2011

What’s Next for Washtenaw Police Services? – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, Jan. 4, 2011

Washtenaw Police Services: What’s It Cost? – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, Nov. 8, 2010

Sheriff requests more staff for expanded jail – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, March 22, 2010

Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners working session (March 18, 2010): At Thursday’s working session for commissioners, sheriff Jerry Clayton laid out staffing needs for a jail expansion that’s set to open this summer. If approved by the board, over the next two years the corrections division will add 39 full-time employees to its current staff of 103 workers.

County Board Gets Update From Sheriff – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, Feb. 20, 2010

Panel Sheds Light on Washtenaw Jail – The Ann Arbor Chronicle, Nov. 13, 2009

Washtenaw County Sheriff Minzey loses to challenger Jerry Clayton –, Aug. 6, 2008

Washtenaw County Sheriff's primary race comes at critical point – Ann Arbor News, July 20, 2008

News references