EFFECTIVE SERVICE AS SHERIFF
Effective service as Sheriff not only requires keen law enforcement experience, training and skills but also an understanding of the responsibilities of government, the separation of powers and budget.
It is our COURTS and JUDGES that decide who must be in jail and for how long. The Sheriff does NOT have the unilateral authority to release people ordered held by the courts. As Sheriff, I developed and expanded programs such as electronic home monitoring, work release and work crews that Judges may decide to deem people eligible for and provide additional options for release. County courts use of expensive and scare jail space has decreased by approximately 12%. The Courts are very pleased with the options and results.
To reduce reliance on the law and justice system, I also worked to implement alternatives such as the Mental Health Deputy program; the development of a Crisis Stabilization Center; and the very recently approved Prosecutor-DOJ grant for the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program.
Any claim that the Sheriff’s Office budget is 70% of the entire county budget is simply baloney. That number has been used to describe the County’s general fund costs in carrying out its mandate to provide a law and justice services to include Civil and Criminal Courts (to include all felony cases), Juvenile Services, Public Defender, Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and many others. Many of these programs have little to do with criminal justice.
Under our Charter, it is the responsibility of the Executive to recommend a budget to the County Council who has the ultimate discretion and authority to adopt the budget. This must be done within the requirements of meeting all statutory and constitutional law mandates that are the responsibility of county government.