BY ART BUKOWSKI
KALKASKA — Bruce Soloway contends there's a big disconnect between the Kalkaska County Sheriff's Department and the residents it serves.
Incumbent Sheriff Dave Israel said that couldn't be further from the truth.
Soloway, a Republican, will attempt to oust Israel, a Democrat, in the Nov. 6 election. Soloway said he'd hire Denny Corrado — his Republican opponent in the August primary — as his undersheriff. Israel would keep Abe DeVol, his current undersheriff.
Israel defeated one-term Sheriff Bill Artress in 2008. He retired after 25 years with the River Rouge Police Department and spent about 14 years with the Kalkaska sheriff's department before he ran for sheriff.
Soloway, of Springfield Township, owns and runs the construction company Soloway and Sons. He has more than 40 years experience in the construction industry. He also teaches at Baker College in Cadillac and serves on the sheriff's posse in Wexford County.
Soloway contends heavy-handed tactics by sheriff's deputies have led county residents to view the department as "a bunch of bullies."
"People say they don't trust law enforcement here. They're disconnected from the people," he said.
Israel doesn't buy it. He said he hasn't heard complaints about his deputies' behavior, and denied allegations that he and his deputies aren't viewed in a good light.
"I don't believe that at all. I think the exact opposite," he said. "I think people have trusted the organization more since I've been here the last four years."
Soloway also accused the department of not doing a good job in solving home invasions, burglaries and other property-related crimes. He contends the department solves less than 2 percent of those cases, a figure Israel said is not accurate.
Israel said his department is in good shape and has avoided scandal during his tenure, and he believes his career as a police officer makes him the most logical choice.
"There's not a doubt in my mind that I'm the better guy," he said.
Soloway, who embraces his role as a county outsider, counters that his lack of experience as a police officer — and with the sheriff's department — is a good thing.
"People like me because I'm a fresh look; I'm not part of what is there," he said. "They want fresh blood."