Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Men Who Would Be Sheriff

The 7 Republican Sheriff candidates - KOTV event photo
  Tulsa County citizens had their first opportunity to sort out the many options vying to be elected as the next Tulsa County Sheriff. Tulsa County Republican Mens' Club organized the event with the help of Brookside Baptist Church, SoonerPolitics, Tulsa World, and Tulsa Frontier.
KOTV provided news coverage. Randy Krehbiel of the
Tulsa World and David Van Risseghem of Sooner Politics joined
Ziva Branstetter of Tulsa Frontier, as media panelists.
  I drew the first spot and asked the first question of the night. I decided that a good opener would be to ask the candidates what parts of the sheriff's office gets too many resources and what aspects need more resources. Their responses were good, but few actually got to specifics or numbers.

Officer training and field personnel were the areas cited for needing more resources (as the grand jury testimony heard). Top-level administration and crony hiring were the only areas cited for freeing up resources.

  When we got to my second question, I decided that mental health issues needed to be discussed. A few of the candidates had already mentioned the matter in previous comments. They all generally agreed that unless a serious crime had led to their incarceration, they should not have been thrown in jail to begin with. All of them had interesting ideas for addressing reforms and at least two of them directly pointed the finger at the legislature for creating the shortage of mental health facilities.
Personal note:
  I was joined on the media panel by two great professional journalists (Branstetter and Krehbiel). I consider them to be role models worth emulating.
  They were aware that I was a part of the citizen-journalist movement. While some journalists despise bloggers, these two were courteous and kind (even complimenting my research and preparations).
  Citizen journalism is just as important as an armed citizenry. The first amendment is as important to vigilance as the 2nd amendment.
  Professional law enforcement is important, but you can't put all your faith in them to protect you. So you arm yourself and others.

  Likewise, the professional media is important, but you can't put all your faith in them to inform you. So you inform yourself and others.
  My third opportunity to question the candidates unfortunately became my last. I decided to ask them to become very personal and vulnerable. After referencing the sloppiness of the last sheriff (which led to his firing), I asked them how they exercise personal discipline in their personal life and work? They only were given 30 seconds to respond, but the answers were varied and refreshingly candid. Humility, faith, accountability, and transparency were among the responses given.
  I was set to discuss civil liberties and asset forfeiture, in my 4th question, but the moderator ended the forum just when I was about to bring it up. Oh well, I trust the issue will be discussed heavily in future forums. I had already discussed the topic with 2 candidates (Fitzpatrick and Miller) and both of them were agreeing that reforms should be addressed.

David Van Risseghem

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