Woodward, Okla. —
Question No. 1: With the new open carry law that goes into effect Nov. 1, how do you think that will affect how the sheriff’s office operates? Do you think it will cause problems in Woodward County?
I don’t believe the open carry law will affect the operation of the sheriff’s office at all. We live in Northwest Oklahoma and the people here are very gun knowledgeable and we have had guns around us all our lives. The people of Woodward County are very intelligent and have a great deal of common sense, a very important component to this new law, I believe we have those bases covered. I don’t foresee any problems with it in Woodward County, but as always law enforcement should be always aware of their surroundings, and observant as to who they are dealing with on all calls of that nature, that may involve a weapon.
Question No. 2: There have been a number of scuffles at the new county jail. How do you plan to address inmate fights and keep inmates from injuring other inmates and/or staff?
You should always be aware of whom you are putting prisoners in the same cell with; there are a lot of circumstances that could cause what I call cellmates to be abusive and combative to each other. The sheriff’s office should be smart as to who they pair up in a cell. Your jail staff should always remember that prisoners or inmates are human beings, they made a mistake which is why they are there, treat them with respect. And finally, the sheriff’s office runs the jail, not the prisoners. The sheriff should make this known to the prisoner population and should educate and support his staff to see that the jail is run properly. I would not want any prisoners or staff injured because of poor management or staffing of the jail.
Question No. 3: Tell us your job history. What are your qualifications for becoming sheriff?
I have thirty-seven (37) years of experience in law enforcement, thirty-six (36) of those years here in Woodward County. Twenty-one (21) of those years with the Woodward Police Department, where I retired as a Lieutenant. I was sheriff for twelve (12) years in Woodward County where a great deal was accomplished towards our fight against drugs, even at the lost life of a friend, OBN Agent Choc Ericsson. I currently work for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections as well as a reserve deputy sheriff for the Harper County Sheriff’s Department.
Question No. 4: Why do you want to be sheriff?
I want to be sheriff because it has always been a childhood dream; law enforcement is what I have dedicated my life to. I love the people of Woodward County and believe that my life is best spent serving and protecting the people here. I have always given my best to my job and I absolutely always will. The office of sheriff is not a 9 to 5 profession. I believe that the profession of being a sheriff is to serve everyone and not judge anyone because of race, religion, political affiliation or social status. I believe that a sheriff should always stand up and fight against drugs, the molestation and abuse to our children, and the caring and protection of our elderly.
Question No. 5: One of the sheriff’s vehicles was recently converted to CNG. How do you feel about CNG conversion? Would you expand on the program and purchase/convert/utilize more CNG vehicles?
I’m not really very knowledgeable on CNG gas or the conversion of. Number one concern of mine would be how safe it is and the expense to do it. If I remember correctly the sheriff’s office had a vehicle that had some kind of a conversion and it caught fire and burned to the ground en-route to a call. I really have been pleased with how vehicles perform from which the way they were intended. I do believe that if it’s not broken don’t fix it.
Question No, 6: What do you feel are the top 3 crime issues in the county and how do you plan to address them?
My first crime issue would be the drug abuse issue. I have made that one of my targets for a long time, and quite simply it is the one problem that we have that you can directly connect with other crimes that occur. Our thefts and rural thefts can a lot of times be directly involved with the purchase of or manufacturing of narcotics. It is a great contribution to other crimes that occur. Secondly, rural theft has always been a complaint of mine, we have good hard working people in our communities and I take it personally when someone makes one of our citizens a victim of crime through rural theft and it’s my job to protect against it. And thirdly the protection of our children and elderly, I want our children and our senior citizens to live without the fear of being taken advantage of or abused. All of these problems will be addressed by regular patrols, education and training, and a firm commitment from me that it will be done and done with me right along side of my work force.
Question No. 7: Are there any changes you would like to see in the sheriff’s office operation? How would you improve operations?
Yes! I would like to see the sheriff’s office become the people’s sheriff’s office again. I would like to see sheriff’s office personnel become pleasant, courteous and respectful to everyone they encounter, shake their hand, stop and visit if someone desires to. I have always been very high on pride, professionalism and appearance. It brings awareness and pride to the department and to our county. I want a staff that is courteous and productive. We will address the jail issue by the treatment of inmates and being smart who they are cellmates with. I will see to it that the sheriff’s office becomes a working sheriff’s office and that the people can feel assured that we are out working for them to make Woodward County a safe place to live, and I commit myself to always be there to protect and fight for the people of this county.