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Meet The Sheriff

Sheriff Raphael "Ray" Washington

Sheriff Raphael Washington views his recent elevation to Sheriff of Wayne County as an answer to fervent prayer and nearly four decades of dedicating himself to law enforcement excellence. As head of the large agency, Washington runs three jail facilities, Road Patrol, a Marine Unit, a Mounted Unit, and supplements law enforcement activities in collaboration with the 43 cities and townships in his jurisdiction (which covers 673 square miles).

Wayne County also borders an international waterway (the Detroit River – adjacent to Windsor, Canada), requiring coordination with the U.S. Coast Guard. Sheriff Washington also oversees development activity of the new Wayne County Criminal Justice Center, which is currently under construction in the heart of the city of Detroit. As a lifelong resident of Wayne County, Sheriff Washington is very active in the community and serves on several community boards. He also applies his extensive law enforcement knowledge and experience in serving as the Director of Security for Greater Grace Temple and Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.

Sheriff Washington believes law enforcement leaders must be discerning in their decision-making, yet compassionate when meting out decisions that affect personnel, the inmate population and the public. His background in law enforcement is wide-ranging, including jails and court operation supervision, inmate population management, policy development, compliance and organizational functions designed to enhance operational efficiency. Prior to joining the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Washington satisfied an extensive career with the Detroit Police Department where after graduating from the academy in 1985, he served as Patrol Officer, Investigative Officer (Narcotics, Violent Crimes, Traffic Enforcement and Gang Squad), Sergeant, Lieutenant and finally, Inspector of Traffic Enforcement. Over that time, he collaborated with officers at every rank at the local, state and federal level.

Sheriff Washington is a proud graduate of the public school system and wholly encourages everyone to pursue higher learning and continuing education. He is a graduate of Cleary University, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice Management. He is also a graduate of Eastern Michigan University’s School of Police Staff and Command. Graduating from the National FBI Academy Session 248, Sheriff Washington has also earned an Executive Certificate at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School in State and Local Government.

Sheriff Washington is also a member of the National Rifle Association and is MCOLES (Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards) Certified. He has served as a firearms instructor for many years and is passionate about educating the community on gun safety. Sheriff Washington’s approach to instruction and his personal attention to his students has earned him countless accolades from those who have attended his classes. He holds numerous local and national certifications, including:

  • NRA Certified Firearms Instructor
  • Shotgun, Rifle and Pistol Instructor
  • Michigan Coalition on Law Enforcement Standards (MCOLES)
  • Member of Wayne County Chief of Police Association
  • Member of Southeast Michigan Chief of Police Association
  • Graduate of School of Police Staff and Command-Eastern Michigan University
  • Senior Executives in State-Local Government – Harvard University, Kennedy School of Government
  • Graduate (Session #248) – FBI National Academy
  • Executive Protection Certification (Detroit Police Department-Special Response Team)
  • Director of Security for Greater Grace Church
  • Director of Security for the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World

Sheriff Washington is married to Keysha Washington, a veteran law enforcement professional. They have two children and four grandchildren.