How do you propose improving services to county residents without asking for an increase in the Sheriff's Office budget.
Three ways: 1. Learning and adjustments. Our forefathers got it right: life, liberty, and providing a community in which people can safely pursue happiness through constant learning and adjustments will be one of my top priorities. 2. Efficiency and effectiveness. I will take a hard look at the workings of our Sheriff's Office and make it more efficient and effective. One way is by adjusting workload. Currently, deputies are required to be reactive, proactive, serve civil papers and be investigators. This is not efficient, effective or practical. 3. Innovative "out of the box" thinking. Under current management, we lost our canines. Most K9 programs are run on grant and foundation money. For example, Kennewick and others run their programs at no cost to taxpayers.
What would you like to see trimmed from the Sheriff's budget? (What do you view as non-essential?)
One of the areas I see is the serving and re-serving of civil papers and subpoenas by deputies, sometimes for cases that have already been settled or adjudicated. Most of this occurs within city limits, not in the areas they are assigned. Depending upon who you talk to, deputies can spend 30 to 50 percent of their shift time serving papers. I would like to review and revamp the civil paper and subpoena service process. By law, deputies are required to serve all such papers, however there are many ways to accomplish this task. Although paper service is a revenue builder, there are methods to accomplish this required task, still realize revenue from this service, while freeing up deputies to protect and serve our community.
How long has it been since you've done "hands-on" police work? How important do you view this as being necessary to the job you are campaigning for?
I am currently a special investigator under contract for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requiring a top-secret security clearance. Prior to this in 2008 and 2009, I was a law enforcement professional counter-terrorism investigator embedded with U.S. Army combat teams in Iraq. This was an armed combat investigative and rule of law mission. Previous to this experience, I worked different assignments at the Los Angeles Police Department, including patrol, a special problems unit, a special enforcement group, a fugitive team, a gang suppression unit in Watts, training officer, undercover investigations, administrative work and senior lead officer in charge of community-based policing efforts, including gang prevention and intervention programs. The value of this experience is for voters of our county to decide.
What strategies do you have for dealing with gangs?
Rigorous effort and leadership needs to be spent in three areas: gang prevention, gang intervention, and gang suppression/enforcement. We need gang prevention and intervention programs which provide young people with positive alternatives, counseling, and support; programs that convert at-risk and gang-involved youth into positive, contributing members of society through education and jobs. As leaders, it is our responsibility to be upbeat, enthusiastic, positive role models and provide all young people with hope. This requires communication, community coordination and public-private partnership. Laws should be strictly enforced to suppress gang activity. Currently, proven tools such as gang injunctions are not being utilized in Walla Walla County. Since gangs don't recognize the jurisdictional boundaries that we impose on ourselves, I favor a strong Gang Task Force enforcement concept.
What's the top issue you would address as sheriff?
My top issue as sheriff will always be the umbrella of public trust under which all efforts take place. The badge that peace officers are privileged to wear is a symbol of this trust, not a symbol of superiority or entitlement. I realize if this umbrella of trust is firmly in place, then all other efforts may fall effectively in place. If this is not the case, things fall apart fast. I am strongly in accord with our code of ethics; my fundamental duty is to serve mankind, to safeguard lives and property, to protect the innocent against deception, the weak against oppression and intimidation, the peaceful against violence and disorder and to respect the constitutional rights of all people to liberty, equality and justice.