Shaun Fulk believes it’s time for a change in leadership at the Williams County Sheriff’s Office and is confident he is the best candidate for the position.
Fulk, 40, a Stryker resident, is a former Williams County sheriff’s deputy who left the department in December after 16 years. Married with five daughters, he is now working part-time as a Stryker police officer while employed full-time for Conagra in Archbold, which makes for a full schedule.
“I’m working part-time for Stryker, full-time at Conagra, I’m campaigning and I’m (married and) raising five daughters,” he said with a chuckle during a pair of interviews Thursday with The Bryan Times.
Fulk is the first candidate for sheriff to be certified by the county elections board for the March 2020 Republican primary. Current Sheriff Steve Towns said Thursday he will file his nominating petitions as early as this coming week and Pioneer Police Chief Tim Livengood, and Tom Kochert, of Edon, have also pulled petitions to run for sheriff, according to the county elections office.
A native of Cecil, in Paulding County, Fulk graduated from Defiance College in 2001 and from the Paulding Basic Police Academy in 2002, when he married his wife, Coleen, and joined the Williams County Sheriff’s Office.
“I always knew I wanted to be in law enforcement. I was in the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts and that taught me about helping others and being of service, and Defiance College emphasizes donating your time to help the community, so that kind of reinforced my interest in serving others,” said Fulk, whose father was a U.S. Army Vietnam War veteran.
Fulk said in the academy, he considered joining the U.S. Marshals Service, but joined the sheriff’s office because it afforded him an opportunity to serve in a number of different capacities.
He said he served as a road duty deputy, supervisor and field training instructor; specialized in crash investigations; was a certified field standardized testing instructor, teaching officers how to process intoxicated drivers; and is a certified evidence room technician.
He was promoted to sergeant and evening shift supervisor and said he enjoyed mentoring younger, less experienced deputies. He also handled every kind of case in his tenure, “everything from an infant death to the smallest theft case,” he said.
In 2008 he received the life saver award from the Northwest Ohio Safety Council for performing lifesaving care.
“I think what separates me from the other (candidates) is I’m hardworking, I’m a family man, I have a solid education and I have a lot of years of experience. People all around the county know me, the deputies know me and respect me ... I’ve lived it every day. I know why we do the things we do and how to take action to make the changes we need to make (at the Sheriff’s Office),” Fulk said.
Fulk acknowledges he has issues with Towns’ management of the sheriff’s office and emphasized he will begin fundamentally restructuring the office, address training and mental health issues and raise deputies’ and staff morale.
“I want to take care of my staff so they can take care of the community,” he said.
Fulk also emphasized that, if elected, he can hit the ground running, using his experience to bring together the various law enforcement agencies and other governmental agencies, such as the county courts and Job and Family Services, to work together for the betterment of the county.
“We need to work together in the county,” he said. “I’m used to leading staff. I’ve held union positions so I know how to deal with bargaining issues and I know how to take on challenges. I’m a turn-key operation. I know what needs fixed and how to get going.”
Count Stryker Police Chief Steve Schlosser as a supporter. He said the department is fortunate to have Fulk. “We were extremely confident in having Shaun come on board with us ... he would make a fantastic sheriff.
“Shaun is the only candidate that has the capability to take on the position of sheriff. He has experience as a deputy, he has experience as a supervisor, he knows the citizens in all four corners of Williams County. He has experience with unions and with contracts. I truly believe he is the best choice for sheriff,” Schlosser said Friday.
Fulk said he wants to begin a Special Reaction Team, a specially trained countywide law enforcement team that can work together to address emergencies within the county; wants to outfit all sheriff’s vehicles with automated external defibrillators; wants to keep the Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) program, and would like to initiate a countywide mentoring program, pairing local professionals and those accomplished in their field with local young people. He said a mentorship program could be a way to instill conservative northwest Ohio values and motivate young people to accomplish their goals and stay in Williams County rather than relocating.
Fulk and his wife, Coleen, were therapeutic foster parents for 10 years and received national certification in the teaching family model. They opened up their home to over 35 children during those 10 years. They adopted two of their five daughters and have lived in Stryker since 2002. The Fulk family is very active in Stryker athletics.
Fulk served two years as assistant athletic director at Stryker Schools, during the 2013-15 school years. He is on the Stryker Summer Recreation Ball Association Board and coached softball for 10 years.
More details on Fulk’s candidacy and alerts on upcoming events can be found at: www.facebook.com/Shaun-Fulk-for-Williams-County-Sheriff. In addition, he will have a booth at the Williams County Fair, which is now in progress.