How do you see the mission of the Sheriff’s department evolving in the next decade with the growth in the county?
The next 10 years will definitely be a challenge for Saunders County law enforcement due to the rapid growth that we are seeing. We really need to be preparing and adjusting at a fast pace as well.
If elected to be the next Sheriff, there are several things that I would like to see happen in the next 10 years.
First of all, we currently only have a part time investigator at the Sheriff's Office. I believe that we need to add at least an additional full time spot for investigations. There are so many reports that are taken that the proper follow up is not getting done. I would like to see our agency solving the crimes and making arrests rather than just taking reports for individual's insurance companies. This position needs to be added sooner than later.
The second thing that I see as a priority is technology that is used at the Sheriff's Office. Technology changes at a rapid pace and our use of it shouldn't be any different. I am already working with vendors on bringing some ideas to our office that will help with identifying suspect vehicles through the use of technology in areas that we are seeing an increase of crimes. Every deputy out on the road currently uses computers, scanners, and printers on a daily basis for traffic enforcement and arrests. We definitely need to make sure we are updating that equipment to make sure they can efficiently do their job out on the road. We also recently obtained a drone that is used for locating missing persons, suspects that have fled, accident investigations, and crime scene investigations. I envision that we will use that device more and more as it has been a great asset to our department.
Another thing that I see the department needing to do as population grows is the hiring of additional deputies. We have recently hired a group of four, that once they get all the training that is required, we will be able to have two deputies on every shift. With the schedule that we currently use, that means that between 3pm and 3am there will be four deputies on the road in a normal day. This is a huge improvement from where we currently are. There are times that only one deputy is on the road currently. With that being said, I want to see our deputies make it to all parts of the county. Each resident is a tax payer and I believe that they should all see an equal amount of service from us.
I would also like to see our deputies stopping in at sporting events, school functions, and other community events to develop "good" relationships with our county's residents. Unfortunately we deal with most people on some of their worst days and it would be nice to have relationships with them in a positive note. Good relationships also make victims feel comfortable when having to call us due to an incident that has happened in their life.
These are a few highlights of some issues I see the new Sheriff having to deal with. I realize that some of these items cost taxpayers but as I am currently the Board Chairperson for the Village of Cedar Bluffs, I understand both sides to the issues. I believe being financially responsible and working with the county board members to attain both of our goals to positively serve the residents in Saunders County. With the extreme growth and valuation of the county, these expenses will easily be paid with new tax dollars.
Thank you for inquiring with me on an issue that is important in Saunders County. I hope to have your support in my campaign for Sheriff.