7 candidates, your choice for Barry County sheriff: Gary Davis, 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: 68

Current Occupation: Farm Owner/Consultant, Retired FBI Special Agent

Past Experience: I am a retired Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent with over 32 years Law Enforcement Experience. I have conducted and supervised criminal investigations including drug trafficking, organized crime, bank robbery, counter-terrorism, fraud and a host of others. My more notable investigative involvement included the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, the Oklahoma City bombing and on the Incident Command of the September 11th terror attacks. I have a Bachelors Degree in Business Administration. I have developed and managed multi-million dollar budgets, HIDTA and OCDETF grants, intelligence centers and technology projects; including the personnel associated with them.

Education: Bachelors of Science degree, Business Administration (cum laude); FBI Executive Development Institute -- Inspector Training -- Certified Police Instructor -- Security Officer Training, Security Seminars -- Equal Employment Opportunity for Managers -- Interrogation & Interviewing -- Interpersonal Communication -- Creating World Class Organizations -- Business Area Analysis -- Management Training for Supervisors -- Basic Organized Crime -- Labor Racketeering -- Racketeering Enterprise Investigations -- High Intensity Drug Trafficking -- Espionage Interrogation & Interviewing -- Espionage -- Criminal Intelligence -- Organized Crime -- Drug Trafficking -- International Terrorism and Counterintelligence -- Department of Defense Joint Task Force Sex Threat Assessment School -- Fingerprint Examiner

Website: Facebook, Gary Davis for Barry County Sheriff

1. Why do you want to be sheriff?

This can be summed up in one phrase; I believe we can do better and that I have the integrity, experience, training and professionalism to bring a new beginning to Barry County Law Enforcement. When people think of the position of County Sheriff, they most likely think of someone who focuses on patrol, but that is not the sum of his job. A County Sheriff wears many different hats. A Sheriff must ensure all procedures and policies are being followed, he prepares and manages multiple budgets, as well as managing the officers that work for him. I believe it is essential for the Sheriff's department to interact with the community it serves. Doing so will improve the relations between the two parties, which in turn can help increase crime prevention.

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

I am the only candidate with a proven record of managing and supervising personnel, creating budgets and instituting programs to combat crime. This experience was acquired during my 22 years of progressively increasing responsibility as a Special Agent with the FBI. I rose from a street Agent investigating drugs, terrorism, violent crime, organized crime and white collar crime, to the position of Supervisory Special Agent of a Criminal/Drug Intelligence squad with 39 personnel from multiple agencies under my direct supervision. This squad contributed to the seizure of over $51 Million in drugs and the identification of over 12,000 drug traffickers and associates. After receiving my Inspection certification I conducted audits of field and headquarters divisions to ensure their compliance with all laws, regulations and financial policies. Upon my promotion to Unit Chief at FBIHQ, I managed budgets for personnel and procurement of analytical software totaling over five million dollars. I was selected as the Security Officer for an FBIHQ Division with over 900 employees. I created procedures to handle bomb and terrorist threats, developed and implemented plans for emergency relocation of staff and business continuity. I supervised or conducted investigations into allegations of employee misconduct.

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

Everything is on the table. Following a review by me and after consulting with the staff and Deputies, I will keep the good, work on those items that can be quickly improved upon or fixed and formulate plans to totally revamp or replace those items that are not serving the mission of the Sheriff's Office. Additionally, I will seek the input of the citizens of Barry County on what they want to see in their Sheriff's Office. None of this will happen day one. Among the changes I plan to make, for which no additional funding is required, is the implementing of community policing. Deputies will be encouraged to spend considerable time and effort in developing and maintaining personal relationships with citizens, businesses, schools and community organizations, these entities have a shared interest with the Sheriff's Office in resolving issues before they become unwieldy problems.

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

A total review of all functions of the Sheriff's Office. This will include all policies and procedures. I want to bring the citizens of Barry County a Sheriff's Office that is dedicated to public service and to the core values of: Obedience to the Constitution of the United States: Respect for those we protect; Compassion; Fairness; Uncompromising personal integrity and institutional integrity; Accountability by accepting responsibility for our actions and decisions and the consequences of our actions and decisions; Leadership, both personal and professional. I also want to increase the feedback to the citizens who have been victims of a crime. Let them know in general what is happening with their complaint. This may mean that we have no viable leads, but at least they will know we did something in their time of need. I also want to increase the emphasis on combating the drug problem in Barry County (See question 6 for more on this). Always be looking for funding sources with minimal strings attached. Increased training for all Sheriff's Office personnel, Deputies, office staff and Jail personnel.

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

I will seek to increase funding by joining and seeking grants from entities such as the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. This HIDTA program provides money for equipment and overtime costs associated with specific drug investigative activities. I will research and present well formulated proposals to the County Commissioners for their consideration for funding. Additionally, a thorough review of all facets of the Sheriff's Office should reveal areas that can be operated at a cost savings freeing up additional funds.

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

Drugs and the crimes associated with them are the number one crime problem in Barry County. I will submit the necessary paperwork to join HIDTA. HIDTA can provide additional monies for drug investigations. I will assign two detectives full time to nothing but drug investigations. I will assign a Deputy to the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team. I realize this reduces the number of patrol officers, but an expenditure of resources on our number one problem cannot be wrong. I plan to enlist the eyes and ears of the 36,000+ residents of Barry County in reporting suspected drug activity and create an intelligence data base that will allow us to build cases against the major dealers in the County.

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

I plan no specific personnel changes in the Sheriff's Office. All Deputies and staff will get to start over with a clean slate and will be evaluated on how they contribute to my vision for the Barry County Sheriff's Office. Integrity, professionalism and a commitment to serving the citizens of Barry County will be my number one requirements. It will be our mission that the Barry County Sheriff's Office serves the citizens and visitors of Barry County by providing professional law enforcement, detention, court security, and communications services that protect and preserve the Constitutional Rights of the people and mandates the fair and impartial enforcement of the law.

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

I am not opposed to the implementation of body cameras, but it must be studied and evaluated as to benefits versus cost. Costs include not only the camera, but the development of rules for use, retention and storage of the product, who has access, etc. What is the opinion of the Prosecuting Attorney on body cameras? They are the ones who will present them as evidence in the criminal cases and also handle proceedings when requests are made for their release in civil cases and to the press. It should be noted that Barry County does not currently have video cameras mounted in any of its patrol vehicles.

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