Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Carter targets budget in run for sheriff

I was able to cover the Buchanan County Sheriff's election. Some would say it was the most heated and controversial race for the county. Prior to the primary I sat down with each of the four candidates to do a profile.

St. Joseph News-Press

Campaigning with young enthusiasm, management experience and a strict plan of attack, Brian Carter, a Republican candidate for Buchanan County sheriff, is preparing for the Aug. 5 primary election.
The Missouri Western State University criminal justice department graduate hails from Bethany, Mo., and has worked for Buchanan County since early 2000. Mr. Carter, an evening shift supervisor in corrections for the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Department, said he’s had intentions of running for sheriff ever since he started in law enforcement.
Mr. Carter will face off against fellow Republican candidate Galen Higdon during the primary.
“I believe it’s time for some changes ... The department needs to be run more effectively and efficiently and held to a different level of accountability,” Mr. Carter said.
Reducing the current budget is one of Mr. Carter’s priorities. His plan includes reducing the budget by a minimum of $300,000 by restructuring current staffing and replacing the current fleet of sport-utility vehicles the department currently uses.
“They truly are a showroom model with a larger battery,” Mr. Carter said.
While he plans to replace the Dodge Durangos with police-packaged cars, possibly purchased from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, he does plan to keep a few mid-sized four-wheel-drive vehicles that are more cost-efficient.
Mr. Carter also has concerns surrounding the warrants division.
“There is a lingering burden of unserved warrants that grows larger by the day in Buchanan County,” Mr. Carter said. “It costs the county nothing more than a phone call or a letter to get that person in and paying their fines.”
Increasing patrol and implementing new school programs are also on Mr. Carter’s “to-do list.” Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or DARE, along with safe schools planning and gang tracking are ways he aims to improve on current programs. Mr. Carter says DARE is in about 75 percent of schools nationwide, but not in rural county schools.
A co-worker and member of Mr. Carter’s campaign staff, Rick Dierenfeldt, said Mr. Carter can inflict the most change in the department.
“I have witnessed his dedication and determination in a law enforcement setting and with family and friends,” Mr. Dierenfeldt said. “He has the innate leadership ability to get people excited about their jobs.”
Mr. Carter believes his experience as a patrol supervisor, a Buchanan County emergency management director, a director for the Region H Homeland Security Division and as a community volunteer and Sunday school teacher will give him the extra edge over his competition.
“I am young and energetic,” Mr. Carter said. “There is no self-seeking purpose behind me campaigning, it’s simply a means to give back to the community and to let the community have a deciding factor in the direction the department should go.”

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