As many of you know, I'm running for Tama County Sheriff this November. I have been working in law enforcement in Tama County since 1988, and I have paid taxes in Tama County all my adult life. I am currently a Deputy Sheriff for Tama County.
With this being said, I'm writing in response about issues that have been brought to my attention that have happened in the past. I will also respond to comments in a Letter to the Editor by Bruce Rhoads. I am not sure where Mr. Rhoads received his information, as I have not seen him at a debate, a meet and greet, or any function in which I have been involved. Mr. Rhoads consistently refers to how law enforcement has been handled in the past. I can't change what happened in the 80's, 90's, and even the early 2000's. I can only change what the future will bring to Tama County. That is what this election is about, CHANGE!
I would like to address some of his concerns and those of others. First, I was asked why we don't provide 24 hour coverage. I explained to them that I can't answer that because I'm not the sheriff I advised them to ask Mr. Kucera that question. I explained to them that if I"m elected as sheriff, I WILL provide 24 hour coverage and provide it seven days a week. Currently, there are blocks of time, when there is no coverage. I believe that Tama County Tax payers deserve 24 hour coverage, seven days a week.
Also, Mr. Rhoads stated that I promised to provide a SWAT team for Tama County. I never promised that. I stated that it was a goal of mine. In my flier I call it a High Risk Team. I put in quotes the word SWAT for clarification. A Special Weapons and Tactics team is a tool. We, as law enforcement officers, have several tools that we use. Pepper spray, baton, knife, rifle, hand gun, and shot guns are all tools. Do we use them every day? Absolutely not, but we have the tools available that we need to perform our jobs. It is a goal of mine to provide this tool to the citizens of Tama County. There has been concern about the cost. If this tool is not affordable. then this too will not get implemented.
Another tool that we have at our disposal is CODE RED. This tool is paid for by most of the tax payers of this county. The City of Tama does not pay for Code Red. Code Red is used to notify the citizens of Tama County of an emergency. We have had emergencies and the Sheriff refused to use this tool. I will make sure that it will be used if elected.
In addition to the previous concerns of Mr. Rhoads, he also stated that I promised a full time animal control officer. I have never stated anything about hiring a full-time or parttime animal control officer. I merely stated that I WILL provide animal control. I never promised to build a facility to house these animals. I stated that I would work with the Humane Society in this area of animal control.
Mr. Rhoads also stated that it is up to the Board of Supervisors to address the animal control issue. The Board of Supervisors only approve the budget; they don't make the budget. The Sheriff makes the budget.
Chapter 351.37 of the Code of Iowa states; "A dog SHALL be apprehended and impounded by a local board of health or law enforcement official if the dog is running at large and the dog is not wearing a valid rabies vaccination tag or a rabies vaccination certificate is not presented to the local board of health or law enforcement official." This means that as law enforcement officers, under Iowa Law, we are required to pick up the dog. We also have a county ordinance that prohibits dogs and other animals to run at large. No where in this code section does it say that the Board of Supervisors is responsible for animal control.
Another issue Mr. Rhoads talks about is needing more jail space. The jail that we have currently is not full on a monthly basis. If we can not afford three or four thousand dollars to fix animal control issues, that we currently don't have, how are we to afford four or five million dollars to add space to a jail that is not consistently full?
Mr. Rhoads talks about vacations, sick time, training, and other issues that mav arise. Every city, county, and business owner deals with these issues. As a Sheriff, Chief, CEO, or boss, that is what you are. You adjust the schedule to cover the area that is needed. If you can't cover it with the people that you have, as the boss or leader, it is your job to cover that shift.
The Mid-Iowa Drug Task Force is a great tool that we have. Our tax payers' dollars get about 10- 15 percent of that time the officer spends in the Task Force. The other 85-90 percent is spent out of county. If Mr. Rhoads is so concerned about tax payers' money, needing more help in Tama County from a deputy, maybe we should utilize that Deputy 85-90 percent in Tama County and not other counties.
Fuel costs issues have also been brought up. Tax payers paid for several years for a deputy to drive back and forth from Brooklyn to Tama County to work. This trip was done at least once a day and sometimes twice a day. We paid for a deputy to drive to Holiday Lake and back to Tama County to work. We currently pay for a deputy to drive to Benton County and back to Tama County to work. Mr. Rhoads stated that the cost is cutting into the budget. We should not, and I will not, if elected sheriff, pay for people to drive home that live outside the county. Everything we do has a price tag on it. There are some costs that you have no control over such as the cost of fuel. Cost is controlled there by not allowing people to take a vehicle home that live outside the county.
I feel that I can provide 24 hr coverage with the budget and man power that we have. I feel that I can provide animal control with the budget that we have. It is about being eff7icient with what we currently have. I WILL be efficient with your tax dollars and will provide EFFECTIVE law enforcement to the citizens of Tama County.
If elected as your sheriff, I WILL utilize the tools that we have in law enforcement. Tools such as Code Red that is already paid for will be used. If elected as your Sheriff, I WILL provide 24 hour coverage, seven days a week. I WILL provide animal control. I WILL provide school patrols and school activities. This can be done with the budget that we have. I will be EFFICIENT with your tax dollars and provide EFFECTIVE law enforcement to the county.
We can't change the PAST. All we can do is CHANGE the FUTURE. This election is about what Tama County citizens want. If you want 24 hour coverage seven days a week, if you want animal control, if you want school patrols, if you want more school activities, and if you want EFFICENT and EFFECTIVE law enforcement, I ask that you give me the opportunity to provide this to you.
I ask that on November 6, 2012 that you vote Bryan Elienbecker for sheriff.
Tama County Sheriff