Sheriff candidate questionnaire: Should Barry County be in the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Danny Boyd, R-Purdy

Boyd

1. What is your opinion on the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team's effectiveness in Barry County?

I do not feel that the current Drug Task Force is giving the same amount of time to Barry County as they are to Jasper or Newton Counties. Therefore, in my opinion, I do not feel the current Drug Task Force is very effective for Barry County.

2. Should we leave an officer in ODET, or should we end our involvement? Why?

I do not feel we should end our involvement with the Drug Task Force, but help restructure it to be more effective for Barry County. By doing that, we need to have officers that are familiar with areas in Barry County that are known for drug activity on the Drug Task Force.

3. Whether in ODET or not, would you create dedicated drug enforcement officers within the Barry County Sheriff's Office? If so, how would the office be restructured to allow for dedicated drug enforcement officers? If not, why?

Yes, it would be nice to have a dedicated drug enforcement officer within the Barry County Sheriff's Office, if funding would allow for that. Until funding can be found, I would assign an investigator to gather intel on drug activity and prepare a case, while performing his other duties.

Justin David Ruark, D-Cassville

Ruark

1. What is your opinion on the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team's effectiveness in Barry County?

They haven't done much in our county yet but we haven't been joined with them very long. I think with time we can gain better results from them with additional personnel in our department full time.

2. Should we leave an officer in ODET, or should we end our involvement? Why?

I believe we need to keep our involvement with ODET for certain reasons. We need officers who are not known in the area for undercover work to be able to set up certain things which our normal deputies cannot do from being known for working in our department. This is much needed in Barry County's war against drugs and those who decide to make, transport, or use them.

3. Whether in ODET or not, would you create dedicated drug enforcement officers within the Barry County Sheriff's Office? If so, how would the office be restructured to allow for dedicated drug enforcement officers? If not, why?

Yes I want to add to the personnel, which means deputies who share the hate for drugs and will work as hard as possible to help rid Barry County of them. As far as restructure, all that would be needed is the time and equipment to get them to work. In addition to this I would like to add a K-9 Unit to assist the others in the county in this process. With a K-9 Unit added to the department, it would make locating the drugs on traffic stop easier, and also when performing search warrants on residences where the drugs are being made, stored, or sold out of.

Terry L. Meek, R-Washburn

Meek

1. What is your opinion on the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team's effectiveness in Barry County?

When the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team was created they were still working cases within the county because one of the members on the team was familiar with our county and the people in it and that member wanted to continue working cases in the county, as he was still receiving narcotics tips. Due to the team's main priorities, they concentrated more on the bigger cities in Jasper county and wanted that member to report to those areas and spend time there for their cases. After a brief period of time that member was let go from the team and they hired another member, not from our area, and that is when we started seeing less and less of the drug enforcement team. From what I understand, the team had bigger priorities that required their staff to be utilized in other areas, except for Barry County, and little to no work was being done here in our county. This is a service we are paying for, but not receiving. I feel the money we are paying for the drug enforcement team could be better utilized in other areas to possibly provide a position, within Barry County, to work on cases and tips throughout the county and not just one area of it. I promise you there are drugs in other areas of the county instead of just Cassville and Monett. There are drugs running through every part of this county, as with other counties, and that is why constant attention needs to be applied to those areas with a full time officer to make the cases that need to be made.

2. Should we leave an officer in ODET, or should we end our involvement? Why?

I believe if we were to leave an officer in ODET, we would not have any control on where that officer would be placed from day to day and if he would even be in our county doing the work that needs to be done on a regular basis. In order to combat the drug problems we currently have we must have an officer working full time in Barry County. The officer needs to be working cases, receiving and following up on tips as they come, instead of receiving a tip and then checking on it days or weeks later when it is too late. I feel we should end our involvement with ODET and look at other options, whether it be looking into another drug enforcement team from another area, or bringing a person on full time within the office to do the job. I am not against looking into another drug enforcement team, but steps would have to be taken to ensure we have a full time member from the team in our area and have control over where the officer is going to be and what he investigates.

3. Whether in ODET or not, would you create dedicated drug enforcement officers within the Barry County Sheriff's Office? If so, how would the office be restructured to allow for dedicated drug enforcement officers? If not, why?

within the Barry County Sheriff's Office? If so, how would the office be restructured to allow for dedicated drug enforcement officers? If not, why?

As I answered before on the previous questions and keep repeating, I would try to create drug enforcement officers within the Sheriff's Office. The only way I feel this can be done at this point in time is look at the resources we currently have. I believe if the municipalities agreed to pool their money towards the Sheriff's Office to bring on an officer full time this could be achieved. Obviously we would have to look at whether we would need additional money to help pay for that officer. Throughout this whole campaign I have heard several complaints about the drug problem in the county and I know there is a problem, but we have to make sacrifices somewhere to control the problem. The sacrifices that would have to be made would be looking at the current budget to see what could be taken from one area and used for another, or even requesting a little more from the commission to help the problem. We would like to see the drug problem go away with little to no cost to the taxpayers, but something has to give in order for that to happen. We cannot rely on the government to just hand us the money to do this through grants. We have to remember if we want to continue to fight the drug problem we have to do it ourselves. Just remember, we cannot get rid of every single drug out there completely, but we can help control what we do have being made or coming into our county.

Gary Davis, R-Cassville

Davis

1. What is your opinion on the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team's effectiveness in Barry County?

I have no statistics on which to base an opinion. Based on my experience I would have to believe that any arrests in Southwest Missouri where the subject has substantial amounts of drugs would impact on Barry County. Drug trafficking and use does not stop at the county line. In addition, any time I can get seven additional drug investigators to assist Barry County it is a tremendous force multiplier. I will make every effort to increase the activities of ODET in the county.

2. Should we leave an officer in ODET, or should we end our involvement? Why?

Barry County does not currently have a Deputy assigned to ODET. There is currently one ODET officer, who is paid by the task force, assigned to Barry County. If we are not active members we cannot expect to receive the same amount of attention as those counties that are.

3. Whether in ODET or not, would you create dedicated drug enforcement officers within the Barry County Sheriff's Office? If so, how would the office be restructured to allow for dedicated drug enforcement officers? If not, why?

Staying in ODET and having seven additional officers to call upon would appear to be the proper course of action. The county does not at the present time have the funds to hire additional Deputies for drug enforcement. If the county can find the money that would be great. I currently have no plans to restructure the Sheriff's Office. As I have stated before, I will assign two detectives to drug investigations and one Deputy from patrol to ODET. They will report up the normal chain of command and as Sheriff I will be aware of all their investigative activities.

Justin Fohn, R-Cassville

Fohn

1. What is your opinion on the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team's effectiveness in Barry County?

Illegal drugs are a regional problem and the drugs seized in Barry County are not all local. So arresting suppliers in surrounding counties as well as Barry County are all beneficial to helping the drug problem locally.

2. Should we leave an officer in ODET, or should we end our involvement? Why?

I feel we have to keep active involvement in the task force to utilize the resources available to regional task forces. Without a deputy assigned to the task force we could not input intelligence from Barry County into the regional drug problem.

3. Whether in ODET or not, would you create dedicated drug enforcement officers within the Barry County Sheriff's Office? If so, how would the office be restructured to allow for dedicated drug enforcement officers? If not, why?

I feel that, along with participation in the regional drug task force, proper training in narcotic interdiction for all patrol deputies would allow any on duty deputy to assist in curbing the drug problem when not actively involved in calls for service.

Travis Hilburn, R-Cassville

Hilburn

1. What is your opinion on the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team's effectiveness in Barry County?

When Barry County entered the task force, there were a number of good investigations leading to several arrests. The drug community knew that they could be next and it made them nervous. In the last few years, the task force has shifted from our County to other neighboring counties and are neglecting the citizens of Barry County.

2. Should we leave an officer in ODET, or should we end our involvement? Why?

With an agreement from ODET for an allotted amount of their time for enforcement in Barry County, I feel we could maintain an officer with the team. Without such an agreement, we should withdraw from the team and attempt to fund and form our own drug enforcement specifically for this County.

3. Whether in ODET or not, would you create dedicated drug enforcement officers within the Barry County Sheriff's Office? If so, how would the office be restructured to allow for dedicated drug enforcement officers? If not, why?

I will attempt to form a drug enforcement team as well as put emphasis on drug enforcement to all deputies. Restructuring of the department will only be done after careful evaluation of all officers and their abilities and passions for enforcing the different laws.

James A. Smith, R-Aurora

Smith

1. What is your opinion on the Ozark Drug Enforcement Team's effectiveness in Barry County?

The ODET currently has little effect directly in Barry County. They have most likely been able to slow some of the import of narcotics into the county though aggressive enforcement in one of the main hubs, that being the I-44/I-49 corridor; however, that seems to have left the 'back door' open for import of narcotics into the county through Springfield and surrounding states, with the Hwy 60/Hwy 37 corridor. Those who distribute narcotics in our county do not stop at the county line, and maintain associations with distributors in other areas. The effective enforcement of the sale of narcotics has to be a regional approach with constant information sharing among agencies, and well as constant training and education on new trends and drugs.

2. Should we leave an officer in ODET, or should we end our involvement? Why?

Barry County should work on providing a local officer to ODET, or other functioning task force, to work side by side with them, and act as a liaison for our local area. The County needs to retain some form of association with a task force, to help bring in needed funding, training, man power and expertise in handling hazardous materials, and the safe destruction of those materials; as well as the ability to pursue charges and forfeitures through federal court for criminals found to be distributing narcotics to our children, or quantities of narcotics throughout the community. The availability of state grants to fund small local task forces has become more and more competitive and harder to obtain. The state looks more favorable on areas who gather together many agencies in a regional area to combat the larger area problem. I will work on not only strengthening our ties and relationships with some form of a regional task force, but also in better training our local officers in the effective enforcement of narcotics cases. I will further communicate our needs with our local and surrounding area state representatives responsible for funding the task force efforts.

3. Whether in ODET or not, would you create dedicated drug enforcement officers within the Barry County Sheriff's Office? If so, how would the office be restructured to allow for dedicated drug enforcement officers? If not, why?

Many of the concerns of the citizens of Barry County, and rightfully so, have been the distribution and consumption of narcotics, especially to our children. With this being a major concern, additional manpower would be directed to work on combating the problem, while communicating the understanding that some other minor offenses would have to take a back seat during increased enforcement efforts. All the officers will receive additional training in the recognition of narcotics activities and offenders. With the implementation of modern mobile technology, information can be made more readily available to officers working the road. Officers will be encouraged to aggressively work narcotics cases in the county, de-conflict those cases for officer safety, and share narcotics information with the assigned ODET, or other task force, representatives, allowing for better communication between departments and linking of criminal activities from other areas. The evening and overnight shifts specifically will be re-organized to provide safer and more effective narcotics investigations and enforcement. Education programs for our children will be evaluated and exposure to our local officers by students in the schools will be increased. I applaud schools who seek out the employ of a school resource officer to provide the students with daily exposure to a law enforcement officer. If the students and officer are able this way to build a trusting bond, the students will be more likely to absorb the information provided and feel comfortable talking to the officer and reporting offenses observed. That same approach can be directed to the citizens of Barry County, where we will focus more on community policing made possible through better time management and the time savings developed through increased mobile technology. Education and aggressive enforcement of the laws will help curb the problems associated with narcotics abuse in our county.

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