The following are topics of great interest to the citizens of Park County. I thoroughly discuss these issues and many more at my meet and greets. Please join me and bring your questions and concerns. I want to hear from you. I am available now, and will always be available to hear your concerns.
Deputy and Correctional Officer Retention, Salary Increases
Training and quality of service to the public
Bias, favoritism in hiring practices at the Sheriff's Office
Use of Force
Regaining Public confidence
My training and experience : Patrol, investigative, supervisory, high risk/tactical
Developing and mending working relationships with surrounding law enforcement agencies
Clear and fair avenues for employee advancement, Sworn and non sworn, Corrections and Jail personnel, Administrative support staff
Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA)
Pay raises, Trust issues, Retaining good employees
Young and seasoned officers and non-sworn employees are always looking for better pay. Implementing pay policies to keep our employees is first and foremost. We want people that are intent on staying in Park County. We must provide them with salaries that are on par with current standards.
Salaries must be supplemented by developing a solid professional culture from within. The foundation to building professionalism begins with trust. The employees of the Sheriff's Office need to know they can trust their Sheriff. I discuss problems and solutions and I back up my words, I do not let problems go unaddressed. One of the fastest ways to break trust is to send mixed or inconsistent messages. I am consistent in my decision-making and I am honest. People know they can trust me.
Ongoing and past investigations continue to cause angst and concern for the citizens of Park County. Your expectations for a competent and efficiently run Sheriff's Office is more than reasonable and can be met. Providing appropriate and continual training is crucial for our employees. Investing in advanced training is mandatory. Investing and promoting employees from within is paramount. You risk and damage morale if you don't promote from within. There is opportunity for advancement and it is attainable. Promoting from within retains employees. Training employees to lead and providing true promotional opportunities is a cornerstone of building genuine morale.
I build rapport easily with others because I take the time to connect with them. Building relationships begins with being a straight talker. I am specific about what is right. I will guide, lead, and move people to achieve results.
CALEA - Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies
PCSO would definitely benefit, but here is the low down: I worked for several agencies that were CALEA certified. FDLE being the state agency I retired from, continues to receive their CALEA Accreditation with Excellence Award every year. I worked with agencies that were not CALEA certified. CALEA assessors evaluate policy and procedures of the department they are evaluating and provide a plan to get them to the standard that is internationally accepted. It is a very long process for a department and requires revenue to support it. For many small agencies the process can begin but it takes many years to reach. For example, the evidence room is probably the one reason many departments have difficulty in attaining full CALEA Accreditation. Many evidence rooms require that the structure be improved in addition to many security issues that have to be implemented. To fund accreditation through CALEA, when you keep in mind the salaries issues we have with attracting and keeping qualified employees this becomes a balancing act. I can promise you that I will review all policies and procedures from the jail to patrol to evidence to assure that our Sheriff's office is run safely and efficiently. I have seen the good the bad and the ugly as far as small town police departments storing evidence in the hallways to excellent seamless State run evidence rooms. I guarantee you that I will audit the facilities, the budget and all that falls under my authority to give the citizens of Park County a Sheriff's Department that is run professionally and is ethically sound.
Engaging our Sheriff's Office in the Community,
I am proposing developing an Explorer Program do introduce are kids to law enforcement. This is a nationwide program that has a tremendous success and impact rate on our young teens. We will start out small and continue grow with community support.
Returning School Resource Officers to all our Schools.
Developing a Forensic Curriculum to teach in our schools. Beginning with deputies serving as guest speakers in our school career days.
Boosting our Victim Services Unit
Developing a sense of pride in serving our community. This will start with me. I will lead by my example and expect professionalism.
Developing a quality Reserve Unit of deputies to supplement our staff
Building trust begins with a leader that can be trusted that has clear and convincing experience. A leader that has direction and attainable goals for PCSO. A leader who treats the public with respect and expects all employees to do the same. A leader who believes in building trust through promoting within and developing value and investment in the future of all employees. Park County it is more than ready for the changes I can bring.
These are questions from the community that all Sheriff candidates and County Commissioner candidates were previously asked and were posted on facebook. These are my responses:
1. Have you ever managed any employees and if so how many?
I was a corporal on patrol and would supervise four to six patrol officers at a time, in charge of a Narcotics Task Force and supervised six to eight investigators, case agent of three wire tap investigations and would be responsible for monitoring anywhere from 15-20 investigators, in charge of squads of six agents during hurricane and mutual aid activations, and a SWAT team leader of 15 agents.
2. What do you feel the minimum requirements are to be a Park County Deputy and what should be the base rate for that position?
My opinion is that a deputy should have two to three years experience and have a base pay of at least $46,000. However, realizing that Park County has a limited budget for new deputies, we will be hiring deputies fresh out of the academy and starting them a lower salary
3. Should you seek higher salaries for Deputies how will you ensure that ANY tax increase goes toward training and making sure that Park County has qualified people in the positions?
I would make every effort to obtain better pay for deputies. I am a firm believer in advanced training, and any budget increase or tax increase for the sole purpose of training will be utilized for such.
4. What will you direct your deputies /employees to focus on and why? How do these issues effect citizens of Park County?
By becoming more professional, more respectful to the public in order to build the trust of Park County citizens. Building trust begins with a leader that can be trusted that has clear and convincing experience. A leader that has direction and attainable goals for PCSO. A leader who treats the public with respect and expects all employees to do the same. A leader who believes in building trust through promoting within and developing value and investment in the future of all employees. Park County it is more than ready for the changes I can bring.
5. Do you support the AG's position on attempting to enforce federal law on Marijuana? Will you allow your deputies to assist Federal law enforcement in simple possession/ manufacture cases?
Sheriffs do not enforce federal law. If a subject is found to have a federal warrant then that subject will be detained for the federal authorities. Yes, I will assist federal law enforcement for the following reasons. The workers, for example, DEA Agents, do not make the policy for federal law enforcement. They simply do their job. I will assist for the safety of all law enforcement persons, for the safety of the suspect and for the safety of the citizens. This is part of being a professional law enforcement agency. I will not choose which law to enforce or not enforce.
6. How do you plan to balance the wants and needs of the rural vs suburban residents. There is a perception that Park county is becoming Denver lite. Do you agree with the code of the west if so why if not then why ?
Certain areas of Park County have denser population then others. Due to higher population they do deserve to have more patrol then other areas. As more people move to the county the department will have to grow to accommodate the increased activity that goes along with more population.
7. What is your position on Civil Asset Forfeiture ?
This is a very useful tool for law enforcement if USED PROPERLY. I have been involved in seizing MILLIONS of dollars of assets from major drug dealers. Monies that criminals have made through illegal activities should NOT be given back to the criminal or his family. My previous agencies had strict policy's on when seizures could be made and what assets could be utilized in law enforcement. As Sheriff I would review all seizures and make the determination that it was done properly so as to receive the assets.
8. What is your position on eminent domain ?
As I have stated before and will abide by, the Sheriff cannot enforce select laws or refuse to enforce a civil order. If a civil order is issued then it will be enforced.
9. What procedures will you implement to provide transparency in your departments activities above and beyond the open records laws ?
I will have an open door policy to the citizens of Park County. There are certain activities that I will not share with the public due to the possibility of impeding an investigation or when it comes to the rights of a deputy under investigation. There are certain procedures that have to be followed. I will make every effort to answers any question that any citizen has concerning the department.
10. Will you consider a run as an independent should you not be the caucus winner ?
No. I am Republican.
11. What will you do to streamline and optimize the budget of your department , what wasteful practices do you want to eliminate ?
Prioritizing the budget. Patrol, investigations and jail will be priority.
12. What personal and or economic relations do you have to current elected county officials ?
14. What would you do different in regards to the most recent tragedy involving Miss. Long? Things leading up to, during and after this investigation ?
This investigation is ongoing. It should not be discussed in this forum. However, any homicide investigation has to start with the investigators having the proper training for such an event. When all the facts are revealed in this investigation then it can be addressed.
15. What will you do to insure that an armed Resource Officer is ALWAYS present during school hours at the Fitzsimmons Middle School and High School?
Resource Officers are a must at ALL Park County schools. The department must fill the vacancies and then provide training to place officers in schools.
16. What will you do to decrease the illegal drugs coming into our county and the ability for our kids to obtain illegal drugs?
In order to decrease drugs coming into the county you must have very proactive law enforcement that will target those that are providing illegal drugs. Traffic Stops and advanced training is a must for deputies and detectives to investigate illegal drug operations. Known drug dealers will be targeted. Most drug intel comes from patrol during arrests or traffic stops. I believe one of the main areas we lack is traffic enforcement on our main highways in Park County.
I enjoy talking to kids about law enforcement issues and drug issues in particular. When visiting in Texas I am privileged to be a guest speaker for a friends’ Forensic Class. I give the kids scenarios and they play out some of the cases I have worked. At the high school level this type of engagement opens up some really good questions and conversations. I would participate and support our deputies and resource officers in putting together our own specific program to reach our kids.
17. What will you do about the fact that some of our current Deputies have been involved in activities in the past that have gotten them relieved of their positions then rehired at a later date? Activities that are illegal and violate the sworn oath they have taken.
If it can be proven that any person in the sheriff's office has committed a crime then action will be taken. However, if there is no documentation then this becomes a difficult issue to address. Bring me positive proof and I will take action.
18. What makes your promises or answers more believable than another candidates?
Look at my endorsements. They are Police Chiefs, Deputy Chiefs, District Attorneys, fellow agents and officers. My reputation in 35 years of law enforcement is stellar.
19. Why should we believe that you will truly do what you say you will do and that your answers aren't just campaign promises said to merely get elected?
Same as above. I am a straight shooter and will tell the truth. You might not like it but it's the truth and it's the right thing to do.
20. Do you have kids currently enrolled in the Park County school system?
No, however my wife Barb is the varsity volley ball coach at South Park High School. Our son just graduated from Texas A&M University.
21. Would you support or not support teachers in the Platte Canyon school system being trained and authorized to maintain a firearm in select classrooms?
I support teachers being armed. BUT that teacher must be highly trained in the use of firearms and WHEN a firearm can be utilized. This is not just an 8 hour class. This would have to be an intense class over a several week period and must be a part of a yearly qualification and retraining. The firearm would also have to be secured for the use of only qualified teachers to access.
22. As an Accreditation & Policy Compliance Manager in a neighboring jurisdiction, I am wondering why the PCSO has not decided to pursue law enforcement accreditation? I believe many of the issues the PCSO has faced/is currently facing are covered by LE standards, and these programs would immensely help bring this agency back on track. Can the candidates speak as to their thoughts on pursuing this recognition?
In regards to CALEA certification : PCSO would definitely benefit, but here is the low down: I worked for several agencies that were CALEA certified. FDLE being the state agency I retired from, continues to receive their CALEA Accreditation with Excellence Award every year. I worked with agencies that were not CALEA certified. CALEA assessors evaluate policy and procedures of the department they are evaluating and provide a plan to get them to the standard that is internationally accepted. It is a very long process for a department and requires revenue to support it. For many small agencies the process can begin but it often takes many years to reach. For example, the evidence room is probably the one reason many departments have difficulty in attaining full CALEA Accreditation. Many evidence rooms require that the structure be improved in addition to many security issues that have to be implemented. To fund accreditation through CALEA, when you keep in mind the salaries and training issues we have with attracting and keeping qualified employees this becomes a balancing act. I have the knowledge and experience over my career working with small rural agencies that attain professional standards without the stamp of approval of CALEA. Yes, I would like to have that stamp on PCSO, but financially I am not sure it would work right away.
23. Will you publish your agencies policy and procedure manual including use of force continuum and code of conduct publicly?
24. What do you think are the appropriate circumstances and criteria before implementing "no-knock" raids on private property? When is such risk of life to the deputies and victims worth it?
I have utilized “no-knock” search warrants on dozens of occasions and have executed hundreds of search warrants in my career. “No Knock” search warrants are utilized to protect law enforcement and not to place them in danger. They are meant to enter a residence with no notice to the occupants. Surprise is often a key factor in safety.
25. Do you support individuals being able to own guns? If not, why and if so, why?
Law abiding citizens should be allowed to own legal firearms.
26. Do you support the federal government removing marijuana from a schedule 1 drug?
Based upon the amounts of states that are legalizing marijuana it could be removed from a schedule I.
27. Have you ever disobeyed an order from a superior and if so, why ?
Not a direct order. I have had discussions with supervisors about orders which often caused that order to be remanded or modified.
28. If there are no funds available from the county or taxpayers, what can and will you do to augment the training and equipment for deputies?
Free training can often be obtained from larger neighboring agencies as well as state agencies. Grants can be obtained for equipment as well as training. I am a firm believer in working with other agencies for training and support. My years of training and experience places me in a great position to give advice and pass on my training to my officers.
29. If elected, how will you avoid conflict of interest, favoritism and the perception of deep corruption that currently seems to be so prevalent.
I have no ties to the sheriff's office. I believe that new leadership will solve the majority of problems in the sheriff's office. I am professional law enforcement and will NOT put up with any nonsense.
30. How would you have handled the Martin Wirth eviction differently? Please provide detail.
As I have stated before, I have served hundreds of search warrants and made hundreds of high risks arrests. You must utilize all intelligence received on every event. Proper planning is a must with proper leadership approving of the operational plan. There are occasions when the plan has to be deviated from but this was not one of them. I have read the report from CBI and believe that when Wirth went into the house they should have backed off. I would not have approved the plan to enter his house. I would have utilized a ruse or conducted surveillance and caught him away from the residence. Then I would have detained him for safety purposes until the house had been checked and secured. This was a case of poor inexperienced leadership.