By David Fleet
Brandon Twp.- After more than two decades—Jim Saunders is off the road.
Following a stellar 36 year career in law enforcement Oakland County Sheriff Deputy Saunders stepped out of the patrol car and into retirement.
“I’ve always been a patrolman,” said Saunders, 55. “I’ve dabbled as a detective, but I’d rather be in the patrol car on the road. Thanks for the years here in Brandon Township, its been a great community. Thanks too for having my back. The old guard is retiring and I’m the last of the Mohicans.”
A 1981 Walled Lake Western High School graduate, Sanders attended Oakland Community College and studied aviation, then criminal justice. Sanders’ grandfather inspired his law enforcement career.
“He was a correction officer for the North Carolina Department of Corrections during the 1950s,” he said. “That intrigued me—he had some good stories and some not so good stories too.”
From 1983-86 Saunders severed was on the Milford Police Department, then joined the Oakland County Sheriff Office in 1987. He worked 10 years in the Oakland County Jail where he was promoted in 1993 to supervisor. He started on the OCSO road patrol in 1998 and worked in Rochester Hills, then in Commerce, Orion and Independence townships. Saunders also served as a training officer for the OCSO new recruits.
“I’ve some very good recruits come up through the OCSO,” he said. “I enjoyed that, train the young guys. It’s good to see.”
He moved to Brandon Township in 2004 where he lives with his wife Lisa, daughter Morgan and dog Bentley.
Saunders has been on the road in the township since 2006.
“I’ve had some good partners over the years,” he said. “I liked being out in the community everyday. There were some good days and some that were not so good days. The best days are when you could help someone out there. Brandon Township is great place to work and live, I’ve met a lot of fine folks out here. From the township offices to the farmers and people who live in the community—they have all been very good to me and I think I’ve been good to them. Always treat people fairly, that’s one of the things I was taught as a young road patrolman and you’ll do well. I adopted that philosophy and it has served me well.”
Retirement for Saunders will include private security for the school district along with a job at the Oakland County Court house in Pontiac. He will also work on his 1967 Chevelle, cut grass and clean the pool.
By David Fleet