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 am a Barry County native who has watched this County deteriorate dramatically over my lifetime. Drug usage amongst our young people has skyrocketed and the crime rate overall has followed. The current Administration at the Sheriff’s Office has done many good things for this County but there are many more that could be done. I feel that more aggressive enforcement of the drug laws will decrease all crime in general.
What qualifications do you have that make you the best candidate for the job?
I served over fourteen years as a Missouri State Trooper. I am a veteran of both the United States Marine Corps and the Missouri National Guard for a total of 17 years where I have been in a supervisory position for 14 years. I have been certified as a major crash reconstructionist, a drug recognition expert, a standardized field sobriety test instructor, a radar laser instructor, and a breath alcohol administrator for the Data master, Into DMT, and the alcosensor IV. I also have training in undercover operations, underage alcohol compliance, and commercial drivers license testing.
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?
While I agree that the court has the final say on what happens to people distributing drugs in our county, it should be the job of every law enforcement officer to relentlessly pursue those that choose to make and sell drugs in Barry County. I will stress the importance of this to each and every officer and ensure that they aggressively pursue these criminals, while still maintaining a good relationship with the community and responding to reactive calls in a very timely manner.
What changes do you hope to make if you are elected?
I will increase the proactivity of the officers to focus on the obvious problems in the county with drugs. I will strive to improve the training of the officers and their readiness to deal with those problems as well as improving the safety and security of our jail facilities.
What do you feel the Sheriff’s role should be within the community and the Department?
The sheriff should be the top law enforcement official in any county. He should strive to protect the citizens of that county from any harm regardless of its origin. He should maintain good communication with the citizens he is sworn to protect and ensure that the Sheriff’s Department is run in an efficient manner.
What makes you a better candidate over your competitors?
I am a Barry County native with roots stretching back to the early eighteen-hundreds. I know the geography of this county and the people as well as anyone or better. I have extensive training in law enforcement and a number of years in a supervisory capacity in the military. I love this county and the people in it and I will put my heart, body and soul into the protection of both.