As Barry County approaches the August 2 Primary Election, the Barry County Advertiser distributed questionnaires to the Sheriff and Public Administrator candidates.
The responses from the candidates are printed in this week’s issue with only spelling and basic grammatical changes made by staff.
All candidates were given the opportunity to answer each question in 75 words or less, and some candidates chose to utilize all of the questions, while others did not.
The Meet the Candidates questionnaire was designed to allow the candidates to speak for themselves about pressing issues.
Travis Hilburn-R, Danny Boyd-R, James Smith-R, Justin Fohn-R, Terry Meek-R, Gary Davis-R and Justin “Dave” Ruark-D.
Why did you choose to run for Barry County Sheriff?
This has been a goal of mine for the past 8 years. I believe I have the experience and the knowledge to be a good leader. Having been born and raised here, I want to make sure Barry County is a safer place to raise a family. Having worked with county and city law enforcement agencies, I have dealt with child sex crimes and other crimes against children, domestic violence, adult sex crimes, and drug addicts. Having gained experience in the Highway Patrol, county and city law enforcement agencies, I feel this multi-agency experience will aid me in being an effective leader.
What qualifications do you have that make you the best candidate for the job?
My qualifications are as follows: currently an investigator for the Cassville Police Department; Computer Voice Stress Analysis (CVSA); Crime Scene Investigation Certified; Field Training Officer; Stalker Radar Certified; B.A.C. Certified; Reid’s Technique in Interview and Interrogations Certified; Accident Investigation Certified; First Line Supervisor School, Drug Court Tracker; Taser Certified; Code Enforcement Officer; Experienced Supervisor Duties including: employee evaluations, disciplinary reports, review accident reports and officer reports; deputy Barry County Sheriff’s Office; trooper, Missouri State Highway Patrol for nine years; and Road Officer, Monett Police Department.
What do you feel is the biggest concern in the current operation of the Sheriff’s Department, and how would you propose to remedy it?
First, a new Sheriff would need to evaluate the current operation, employees, equipment, and reports to know what concerns need to be addressed. After speaking to citizens around the county, the feedback I am getting is that some areas are feeling neglected. Citizens have told me they feel response times are slow and that some areas are not being patrolled. The biggest concern I have heard is about the drug activity in Barry County. I would plan to continue to build on the organization that is in place. I would work very close with the commissioners to get items, equipment and training for the deputies to make them able to do their job more effectively. I want to lead a department that has public safety at the forefront. The Sheriff’s Office needs to use all resources available, including public involvement, by offering education on knowing what to look for in regards to criminal activity. I feel that getting our citizens more involved will help deter drug activity.
What changes do you hope to make if you are elected?
Instead of making changes, I would like to build on the current organization and move forward together for the citizens of Barry County. I will spend a lot of time observing, listening, and evaluating the needs of the department to make sure we have all the information to make the right decisions. There may be some restructuring regarding administrative duties to better fit the department. The first action would be to have a meeting with all the personnel and explain my expectations regarding the department and their duties. Then meet with each one personally, to get their thoughts on what changes they believe should be made. I want to have an open door policy, where people can voice concerns and issues they may have.
What do you feel the Sheriff’s role should be within the community and the Department?
The Sheriff is the highest elected official in the county who is responsible for keeping the peace and enforcing the law. I believe the Sheriff is not only an administrator, but should also be involved in investigations. The Sheriff also needs to be involved in community activities and public relations. I believe in working management and leading by example. The Sheriff should be able to perform any duty he would expect his fellow officers to perform. I also believe educating the community regarding what to look for and how to identify drug activity is a must. My goal as Sheriff is to help the department and the community work together to decrease crime in our county.
What makes you a better candidate over your competitors?
I cannot judge the other candidates, that is for the voting citizens of Barry County to do. Law enforcement is not a job, it is a calling. To be an effective sheriff, you first need to realize you work for the citizens who elected you. I have the ability to bridge agencies. I have worked in several different areas throughout the county and have a better idea of what these areas need from the Sheriff’s Office. Having lived in the northern part and worked in the southern part of the county, I have a much wider view of the county needs. I have the experience and dedication to serve and protect, which should be the mission statement of any Sheriff.