Part II — Barry County Sheriff Questionnaire: Gary Davis
1. What, specifically, will you do to reduce the drug problem in Barry County?
I will continue to request more Deputies and personnel to address the drug problem. However, as has been stated in the answers to other questions, there is only so much funding to go around for all county functions and responsibilities. Drug investigations are the number one priority for the Sheriff’s Office. However, they do not receive nearly the attention they deserve. When you have only 17 Deputies that can be utilized for patrol and investigative duties and receive approximately 1200 calls for service per month, only those calls of the highest priority get the in-depth investigation every call should warrant.
2. When addressing the drug problem, will you put more emphasis on certain substances compared to others (i.e. marijuana versus prescription pills versus meth)?
At the present time you cannot place more emphasis on one illegal drug. With the current Covid-19 crisis, meth has become expensive and hard to acquire. With the increased security at the Mexico border product from that country has slowed to a trickle. The increased enforcement on all aspects of prescription drugs has led to a tightening of their availability. As to marijuana, the passing of the medical marijuana amendment to the Missouri Constitution has created an uncertain playing field for law enforcement. While I believe marijuana is a gateway drug and leads to the use and experimentation with stronger drugs, if you have the proper medical marijuana cards for the State of Missouri, you can grow, possess and use at/in your home. We are also starting to see heroin and stronger drugs enter the area. Law enforcement must be trained and ready to respond to whatever the drug of choice is.
3. What is your opinion on the Sunshine Law and your philosophy on transparency?
The Sunshine Law was passed to provide citizens access to records on how their government works. Law enforcement records provide a tough balancing act in that they often show citizens at their worst or most venerable. The availability of law enforcement records must conform strictly to the written law so they will not impact on the legal rights of any party. I believe citizens have the right to know what the government has pertaining to them if the release of that information would not invade the privacy of another individual or impact on a valid governmental action.
4. Given recent events nationwide regarding policing tactics, would you consider extra training or any changes in policy regarding force?
A statement regarding policing tactics in general would not be appropriate. If the question pertains to the use of deadly force that tactic is only authorized if the Deputy is in fear for his life or the life of another person. I am strongly in favor of additional training that would improve the professionalism and safety of my Deputies and the citizens of Barry County. As changes are made in the laws all appropriate policy changes will be made.
5. If elected, how long do you plan to continue serving as/running for Sheriff?
If re-elected by the citizens of Barry County, I will serve them for the next four years and then step back and evaluate the job I have done, my health and family situation and whether the citizens want me back. It is a privilege to serve as the Sheriff of Barry County.