Barry County attorney candidates look for residents' help

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Boxx, Weatherman, Dunker ask Barry Countians to step up

The three  Republican candidates for Barry County prosecuting attorney are hoping to get more than just a vote from county residents.

Amy Boxx, 42, of Monett, Matt Weatherman, 30, of Golden, and Steve Dunker, 50, of Cassville, each have ideas for how residents can help the prosecuting attorney's office and local law enforcement when it comes to stopping crime.

Boxx said one of the big things that can help is for residents to have more watchful eyes, especially around their homes.

"One thing citizens can do is to simply be more vigilant and pay attention," she said. "We can't convict someone of a crime if we don't have sufficient evidence to do it, which means we need witnesses who know what's going on. I think we have some communities around with neighborhood watch programs and we need more of those.

"Unfortunately, we've created a society where we don't really pay a whole lot of attention to the guy down the street anymore."

Weatherman said neighborhood watch is good, but only to an extent.

"Neighborhood watch is a good program and we need more of it, but we definitely don't need citizens trying to be law enforcement," he said. "I think that's a very dangerous proposition for people to step into."

Instead, Weatherman said there should be more volunteerism and activism in helping those in need, such as the homeless and hungry.

Dunker agreed that residents should be more vigilant in preventing crimes.

"Citizens have to get involved and need to report something if they see it," he said. "People have to be looking after their neighbors' property and interests."

Dunker also said more funding to the prosecuting attorney's office would be a big help.

"We passed a tax increase to give more money to sheriff's department and the prosecuting attorney's office, which allowed it to hire an assistant prosecutor," he said. "That's a step in the right direction. [Citizens can also] ask the commission for increased funding to the sheriff's office or increased funding to the prosecutor's office.

"We can't increase our own budget other than to ask county commissioners to do that for us."

Boxx also said additional funding is important, especially for law enforcement.

"Throwing more money at it always helps," she said. "Especially if you get more deputies out there in patrol cars. This is a big county and by the time the deputy gets there in a patrol car, the crime has already happened."

Weatherman said the office can also be looking for places within the budget to trim some.

"We really don't need to be throwing more money at it," he said. "Might there be some places we could seek a budget increase, sure. But, I think the first thing we ought to do is look at places where we can save money doing what we're already doing and doing it better."

The three candidates will square off on the Barry County Republican primary ballot on Aug. 5

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