Opinion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: A Viewpoint On The Sheriff Race

Dear Editor

I have been sitting here tonight thinking about how the 2016 sheriff race has gotten so ugly and so

fragmented. By fragmented I mean smokescreens issues that aren’t the real problem.

I made a comment a couple of days on one candidate’s post that it was time to let the sanctuary county

issue go. There are more pressing issues in this race. The answer from the candidate was, the post was

deleted, not just the comment but the entire post, and I was blocked from commenting on any of his

posts.

Seriously it’s time to stop the nonsense about who’s flipping cheese sandwiches or are we bound by

court rulings to accept illegal immigrants in our jail. We need to stop pointing fingers about dirty politics.

Those who claim to run a “clean” campaign need to take a couple of steps back and think about what

they are saying. A candidate may keep their mouth shut but co-workers and friends “leak” information

that could have come only from the candidate. It’s not all about kissing babies and shaking hands. It’s

not about who shows up for events or rides in parades. It’s about the safety of our residents and

enforcing our laws.

We are at a point in our society where this election is crucial. The sheriff has always been the first line of

defense fir the public, but we have reached the point where he may also be the last line of defense,

depending on what the federal government does or doesn’t do,

There issues that impact on my safety, my family’s safety and the safety of all of you and your property.

Employee recruitment and retention is huge in my opinion. In May I read in the paper that the sheriff

patrol was at full strength and after the disturbance at the jail I read the patrol division 10 is deputies

short. Either the story in May was incorrect or 10 people quit in a two month period. I have not heard

anyone dispute that the turnover rate is terrible. What I have heard is that it is because of retirements,

and employees who don’t meet standards. A strong recruiting program solves both of these issues. If

you have a waiting list then retirements are not a issue. If employees don’t measure up, why were they

hired in the first place? Again if you have a strong recruiting program you don’t have to take the first

warm body in the door If pay is really the issue and the sheriff has tried for four years to get increases

but been turned down by the commissioners, there is something wrong. Either the increase isn’t being

justified or “sold” to the commissioners, or the commissioners don’t care. Either way something needs

to change. Call a press conference and invite the commissioners and announce that the sheriff will not

accept his annual raise until his employees start getting raises, explain the retention issue and let the

press take it to the “court of public opinion”. This applies to detention deputies also. TURNOVER COSTS

BIG BUCKS BOTH IN TRAINING NEW PEOPLE AND OVERTIME WAGES TO COVER SHIFTS. MONEY FOR

RAISES MIGHT BE FOUND BY DOING AWAY WITH THOSE TWO COSTS.

I hear more often from employees that the problem is more leadership and administration. If that is the

case whoever is sheriff should have meetings with command staff to get to the root of the problem. If

that doesn’t solve the problem retrain them, if that doesn’t solve the problem release them. Again

you’re messing with my safety. This also applies to detention command staff.

The sheriff is responsible for providing the equipment necessary for the safety of his officers. I won’t

comment here because I have no knowledge of what is supplied, but it’s pretty easy to ask a deputy, you

might be surprised by the answer.

Deputies should be trained to be proficient with all of the equipment they are issued. What good does a

fingerprint kit do in the trunk if the only training the officer had was a few hours at the basic academy?

Deputies should receive advanced training beyond the 40 hours of annual training required by law. If we

can’t afford to send patrol deputies for additional training the coop with other agencies in the area to

bring the training here.

Investigations became a concern after I watched the candidate forum for the third time. I have trouble

understanding why there are 350 active case under investigation in Butler County.

Drug task force has become an issue, and the answer was we have a deputy assigned to the DEA task

force in Wichita. Well those folks work major drug cases and criminal enterprise cases. They don’t deal

with the kids dealing in our schools and the small time meth cookers. This issue needs to be addressed.

Transparency seems to be important, but I never see the monthly or daily crime statistics on the

department Facebook. Cases cleared or “solved” should be published. I do see a post that says the crime

rate is down but no explanation. With a short staff I doubt that it is because of patrol, since we have no

information about clearance rate I can’t make a call as to whether or not it is because we are arresting

criminals, or is it because people just don’t want to fool with reporting minor crimes. Or maybe because

the population has increased.

J keep hearing that big changes will be made. Why would you wait, the problem is now and evidently

has existed for quite a while.

I could probably ramble more, but I think you probably get the point by now.

PAY ATTENTION TO WHICH CANDIDATE HAS A PLAN.

Mike Hayes

Towanda, KS

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