7 candidates, your choice for Barry County sheriff: Travis Hilburn, R-Cassville

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Publisher's note: The following Q&As represent the candidates' views verbatim, as submitted via email in response to our questions, and have not been edited.

Age: 43

Current Occupation: Self-employed

Past Experience: 17 years military, 14-1/2 years Missouri Highway Patrol

Education: Cassville High School, class of 1990. Some college. Major crash reconstructionist, drug recognition expert, alcohol breath analyzer instructor, radar laser instructor, CDL instructor.

Website: Facebook.com/HilburnForSheriff

1. Why do you want to be sheriff?

I am a Barry County native, I've served a total of 17 years in the US Military, and over 14 years with the Missouri State Highway Patrol. I love this County and I care deeply for the people in it. My goal is only to improve the quality of life for these people by giving them a better law enforcement agency than what they have had in the past. The Sheriff's department has improved dramatically in the last 20 years during Sheriff Epperly's term. I feel there are vast improvements still to be made such as; improving the jail, fighting the drug problem we have in our County, and decreasing our crime rate overall.

2. What makes you more qualified for office than your opponents?

I'm a Barry County native whose family has been in Barry County since the early 1800s. I have served in the US Marine Corps and the Missouri National Guard for a total of 17 years. I was an officer with the Missouri State Highway Patrol for more than 14 years. I know this land, Missouri law, and these people as well or better than any other candidate. I will ensure prompt, reactive and aggressive proactive response and enforcement by the deputies in this County.

3. What changes do you plan to make in the sheriff's office?

Changes to the county facilities can only be made with the approval of the County Commission, therefore I will not make promises that I don't know I can keep. I will however increase the proactivity of the officers working for Barry County and we will aggressively pursue the drug and theft problems that we have in this County.

4. What specific goals do you plan to accomplish in your first term?

I intend to reduce the crime rate overall in dramatic fashion by aggressively pursuing the thieves, drug makers and distributors that are destroying our peaceful Southwest Missouri way of life.

5. How will you increase funding for the sheriff's office?

I will submit a detailed budget proposal to the commission as well as applying for Grants from outside agencies such as MoDOT.

6. What, specifically, will you do to reduce the drug problem in Barry County?

Aggressive proactive pursuit of the makers and distributors.

7. What, if any, specific personnel changes will you make in the sheriff's office? Why?

I will not make immediate Personnel changes. If Personnel changes are needed, that will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

8. What are your thoughts on body cameras? Is that something you will try to implement in the department? Why or why not?

Cameras are a terrific tool in gathering evidence as well as helping the officer write his or her report accurately after the incidents have occurred. If the funding becomes available for this type of expenditure, I would put body cameras on every active road officer.

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