New sheriff who won her old boss’ job after he sacked her ‘for being a lesbian’ wants to ‘repair trust’ in police

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

Charmaine McGuffey has spoken out after becoming the first female LGBT+ sheriff in her county, saying she intends to use her position to “repair trust” in the police.

After allegedly being fired for her sexuality, McGuffey beat her old boss in the Democratic primary and went on to campaign on a boldly queer platform that highlighted the discrimination she overcame.

She knows what it’s like “to be targeted for who I am and not for something I’ve done”, and now she wants to use that experience to improve the police from within.

“I feel passionately about this police force and Hamilton County and I have a big plan on how to make things better. My policies are police reform and citizen involvement; I want our police force to be transparent,” she told Metro.

Her first priority will be to reform the department she’s now in charge of, pledging to “weed out the bad apples” that give the police a bad name.

“My overall goal is to make my department a model for how to run a sheriff’s office in Ohio but to do that I need to bring about significant reform. There is public distrust in the police and we need to work hard to build a bridge of trust between officers and the community.

“I want my police force to be transparent so that people understand why we do some of the things we have to do on duty.

“I want to make sure the public trust us and I also want to help our officers make the best decisions they can possibly make. One of my main aims is to empower officers to speak up about any wrongdoing by colleagues.”

She touched on this in a viral campaign ad that accused her Republican opponent, Bruce Hoffbauer, of being “unfit for the job and for this moment”.

The video pointed to Hoffbauer’s history of excessive force, his shooting and killing of an unarmed Black man, and his serving on a police unit notorious for terrorising communities of colour.

“From notes on the bathroom door to abuse at the very top, I’ve taken on bullies like him my entire career. I stood up to homophobia and sexism, I’ve torn down barriers that were designed to keep people like me from ever getting a fair shot,” she said.

We can’t wait to see the kind of sheriff she’ll be.