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?
I have answered a calling I felt to serve this county, and southwest Missouri, through enforcement of the law for many years, several of those years in a leadership position. I have always strived to serve with fairness, compassion, equality and respect for all those involved. I saw the need for a qualified person to lead the department into the future and to deliver the people of this county the best law enforcement possible.
What qualifications do you have that make you the best candidate for the job?
I have experience and training in all areas of the responsibilities of a local law enforcement officer. I have served as the acting sheriff during my tenure, in the position of Chief Deputy, so I have a working understanding of the responsibilities of the office. I have experience in writing and administration of grants. I further have experience in working with budgets, developing relationships with other departments and working with other county offices.
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?
One of the biggest concerns I have seen with the department is the lack of newer technology. The world today is becoming more and more mobile. Law enforcement needs to advance with the times to be efficient. I plan to seek grants and funding to improve mobile technology. This would allow officers to report from the field or substations, which will significantly reduce transit times, allowing officers to be out in the communities more.
What changes do you hope to make if you are elected?
I plan to bring the department forward with new technology and training to make the department more efficient and provide the officers with as much information as possible, thus allowing them to make informed decisions and keep them safer. This would also allow officers to be in the communities more interacting with the citizens they serve. I also would like to work on strengthening communication and relationships with other departments, working together for the citizens.
What do you feel the Sheriff’s role should be within the community and the Department?
The Sheriff’s Department is the lead law enforcement agency within the county. The Sheriff is therefore responsible for the safety of all the citizens of the county, and as an official elected by the people, the Sheriff has the responsibility of being the last line of defense for the people served against the over reach of big government. Within the Department, the Sheriff is responsible for administrative duties, ensuring officers receive training, and employees follow proper procedures to provide impartial enforcement of the law for all.
What makes you a better candidate over your competitors?
I have experience in the administration of local law enforcement entities, having served as Chief Deputy of the Sheriff’s Department and current Captain of the Cassville Police Department. I have conducted complex investigations, working with other departments, from small police departments to large federal agencies, so I understand what is needed to obtain convictions of criminals in state and federal courts. I further have a working understanding of technology and it’s use to improve officer safety and efficiency.
Use this last question as an opportunity to address any issues that you did not address in the previous questions.
I began my career in law enforcement in Barry County, working for the citizens here, my friends and neighbors. I have had opportunities to obtain employment elsewhere with other departments and agencies; however, Barry County is where I live and Barry County is where I intend to stay. Barry County is where I can do my part to have a positive influence on our children and hopefully help make our future safer and brighter.