Law Enforcement is under a lot of scrutiny these days, I believe a lot of this has to do with our own lack of transparency. EVERY single deputy will be equipped with a body camera. As we all know; with all the cell phones recording videos of officers’ actions, most times the public is not seeing the whole event or the officer's perspective of the event. Body cameras will ensure this transparency. This is not only to protect the citizens, but also the deputies. I will make this promise to you--I will make it mandatory for ALL deputies to wear body cameras in all public encounters.
With all the violence swarming around the Country, I believe that we need to be more proactive than reactive. The Sheriff's Office has a metal detector that has not been utilized since we have had it, which is at least 18 years. It currently is collecting dust at the Muscatine County Jail. I would propose utilizing this or perhaps selling it and replacing it with updated equipment, to be placed over at the Courthouse for better security, especially during criminal and civil court proceedings. We need to make sure everyone that enters the courthouse is safe (proactive), instead of waiting for something terrible to happen and then trying to prevent it from happening again (reactive).
I would also like to look at employing a full time civil deputy again. With all the civil papers that are being served on a daily basis, the deputies spend a lot of their time serving these papers, instead of being proactive by patrolling and being community oriented.
I would also like for every single deputy to more proactive with the community that we are sworn to serve. I would like to implement community meetings, to give citizens the chance to sit down with myself and the deputies to discuss concerns in the areas, recent problems, etc.
We have the ability to do more things for the communities that we serve. The Muscatine Police Department has a program called a Shop With a Cop (pick several disadvantaged families for Christmas), which is a great idea. I was fortunate enough to be a part of that great cause for several years while at the police department. Why can't we do that for the citizens in the County as well? We can and we will if I am elected.
After speaking to many deputies and Correctional Officers within the County, the morale of these departments is at a very low point. We must do something to boost that morale of our Deputies and Correctional Officers and I believe great leadership, which means being supportive of your staff, leading from the front and not leading by fear and intimidation, will do just that. Over the last several years, many things have caused the drop in morale, from lack of fair and equal leadership and discipline practices all the way down to scheduling. It's not enjoyable to work in an environment where you are constantly worried about what you might get in trouble for. There is a difference between genuine mistakes and deliberate insubordination and there definitely should be NO difference between reprimands because of whom it may be.
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