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An Interview With: Candidates for Knox Co. Sheriff

An Interview With: Candidates for Knox Co. Sheriff

By August Steigmeyer

David Shaffer

The Kenyon Collegian: What qualifies you to be Sheriff?

David Schaffer: Probably the thing that stands out the most would be the years of supervisory and management experience. I was promoted to sergeant and I spent approximately three years as sergeant, then a couple years as lieutenant. When I was a deputy patrol officer, I worked on the labor side … and now I’ve had an opportunity to work from the management side. So I guess it would be kind of a combination of years of management experience.

TKC: Have you made an effort to get to know Knox County in general?

DS: I think our patrol guys work all areas of the county, so I spent from about 1993 to 2006 working all of the counties. So during that time as a patrol officer, you handle calls and you meet and see people in all areas of the county. That’s true for probably any of our patrol officers.

TKC: Have you done anything to maintain a relationship with Kenyon and Campus Safety?

DS: Our detectives work a fair amount with Bob Hooper and security personnel. I [recently] met with Bob and went over some of the security details of the College itself. We are going to be participating in a table-top exercise with Kenyon College next November.

TKC: Is there anything you would do to improve relations with Kenyon?

DS: I think it’s probably maintaining the level of communication that we’ve had with security. One of our lieutenants and I came down and spoke last year to the students about alcohol issues. I [think it] was helpful for some of the students to hear about the law and what we have to enforce in certain issues.

TKC: Is there anything more you plan to do to maintain a relationship with students?

DS: It’s probably just staying receptive to concerns that the College or the students may have. If they come to our office [with concerns] or if we come to them saying we’ve been getting an unusually large number of reported incidents, then we’ll address it.

TKC: Sheriff Barber has been in office for 20 years now. What will you do to help smooth your transition?

DS: I think what the current Sheriff has been doing lately … is maybe step back just a little bit and allow me to handle more of the day-to-day operations, some of the media relations, as well as participating in more community organizations. I’m a member of the Seniors and Law Enforcement Together program that we have, the Suicide Prevention Coalition, the Knox Substance Abuse Action Team, the Child Fatality Board and the Public Relations Roundtable.

TKC: What really qualifies you more than your opponent?

DS: The amount of supervisory and management experience and being a leader and being respected in the department. My community involvement inside and outside the job.

Roger Brown

The Kenyon Collegian: What qualifies you to be Sheriff?

Roger Brown: I have worked in the jail division, the patrol division and also the detective division. I’ve worked in pretty much every area of the Sheriff’s Office – that’s experience I have that my opponent does not have. I’ve also investigated major crimes in the county, anything from a bad check case to a homicide case, and [I’ve] obtained convictions on those cases. I’ve also been a small business owner in Knox County, owned and operated a small business for four years. So I’ve dealt with budgets, I’ve dealt with employees, managed the day-to-day operations of the business.

TKC: Have you done anything to maintain a relationship with Kenyon and Campus Safety?

RB: I have actually worked investigations with Kenyon College on some of the drug [incidents] down there. There’s been a few in the last four years, we’ve done some drug operations down there, and I’ve been involved in those. I know some people don’t have an issue with drugs but it’s obviously against the law, so part of my duty was upholding the higher vice code.

TKC: Sheriff Barber has been in office for 20 years now. What will you do to help smooth your transition?

RB: The Sheriff is actually supporting my opponent, so, to be honest, the smooth [transition] is going to be based on his ability to work with me. I can’t honestly answer how this [transition] will be, but I want it to be as smooth as possible. The Sheriff did not want me running against my opponent, he wants the next Sheriff to be who he wants, not who some other people want. I don’t believe in the ‘good ol’ boys system,’ I don’t believe in picking your successor, I don’t think that’s what politics is about.

TKC: Do you have any particular programs you want to initiate?

RB: My top priority is budget. If you look through the history of the Sheriff in budgeting, he does not have a real good record in terms of budgeting. I believe the economy is still extremely bad, and obviously the budgets of the economy have all been cut. So one thing I’m going to do different is … you will see me investigating crimes, you may see me in uniform on the road. It’s my belief that you can no longer be just an administrator in a Sheriff’s Office in a county our size, you actually have to be involved in the day-to-day duties of the Sheriff’s Office.

TKC: Why should people vote for you? What really qualifies you more than your opponent?

RB: The biggest thing to me is, it’s my opinion that the Sheriff of this county and any other county should have experience in all areas of the Sheriff’s Office. We need a Sheriff who’s going to lead with that experience, not just oversee the Sheriff’s Office and depend on the employees. We’ve got a lot of great guys at the Sheriff’s Office, but in my opinion, if you’re the boss, you’re the Sheriff no matter what business you’re in – you better know everything about the area you’re in. … You have to be the guy they can come to and ask the questions.

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