Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Democrats have choice in Porter County Sheriff race

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By KEVIN NEVERS

In the primary election on Tuesday, May 6, David M. Reynolds and Harold S. Lush will vie for the Democrat nomination for Porter County Sheriff. The Chesterton Tribune invited both to respond to candidate questionnaires.

The Tribune set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit for length.

(1) Age, place of residence.

Lush: 69, Chesterton.

Reynolds: 63, Portage.

(2) Why are you seeking election to the office of Porter County Sheriff? (100 words)

Lush: I seek to improve the culture of the Porter County Sheriff Police by being ever vigilant, gaining the total trust and confidence of the public, with the utmost respect to the citizens of Porter County. Under my leadership develop zero tolerance toward all criminal behavior of which includes driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. I have deep concern for a safe and healthy welfare of the community, as it is growing. Have the Porter County Sheriff Police become more transparent. Improving fiscal responsibility. I pledge to forego some or all of my salary to bolster the department.

Reynolds: I have the vision, experience, and proven leadership to lead the men and women of the Sheriff's Department to continue to protect the people of Porter County. I believe everyone, whether at home, school, or at work has the right to feel and be safe. As a resident of Porter County for over 45 years and 33 years in law enforcement, I have dedicated my life to serving the public. This dedication and experience has prepared me to serve the public as Porter County Sheriff.

(3) What are your qualifications for this office? (150 words)

Lush: I was employed in plant security at Bethlehem Steel from 1973 to 1988, of which was “akin to a small community” in terms of the law enforcement matters I faced. I don't have the experience of the other candidates for this office, although a new approach without any ties to anyone due to my refusal to accept donations, should serve the community well. If successfully elected by the voters of Porter County, my mission is to serve and protect the Porter County Community where law abiding citizens want to live and raise their families. The Sheriff in Indiana’s duties is defined by I.C. 36-2-13. Law Enforcement: The Sheriff’s obligation is to preserve the safety and security of every citizen in the county. Court Duties: The Sheriff is responsible for maintaining the safety and security of the Courts. Jail Administration: Responsible for maintaining and operating the County Jail.

Reynolds: I have both a B.A. of Arts Degree in Forensic Studies and MPA from Indiana University. Adjunct Professor teaching law enforcement related courses at IUN. Twenty-five years experience with the Lake Station and Portage Police Department. Two decades as an investigator and undercover police officer and in charge of the Porter County Drug Unit on three occasions. Captain of the Detective Bureau. Instrumental in the arrest of two serial murderers that plagued Porter County, Christopher Peterson and Eugene Victor Britt. Chief of the Portage Police Department. Twice elected Sheriff of Porter County. Proven track record of taking a collaborative and innovative approach to police work which has resulted in the thorough investigations, arrests, and convictions of countless criminals. Running a city police department and Sheriff Department and seven years working for an international security company investigating domestic and international crime.

(4) What in your view are the two most urgent issues in this campaign? (150 words)

Lush: Illegal Drugs and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. The majority of incarcerated individuals are due to illicit drugs and alcohol use. The offense of driving under the influence, DUI, typically relates to alcohol intoxication. Alcohol is just one of the countless substances that can impair one's ability to operate a motor vehicle. Driving under the influence of drugs, including prescription medications as well as illegal drugs, can result in Driving Under the Influence charges. A Physician’s orders are no defense to drugged driving charges. I would implement police intelligence, co-op with Drug Enforcement Agency, and Local Drug Task Force unit to reduce this reality. Intensify Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program, grades K through 12. Every overdose death is preventable provided we are vigilant. We need to raise awareness of the usage of Illegal Drugs, Marijuana, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Morphine, Heroin, LSD and DUI. www.empowerpc.org

Reynolds: School Safety: The area of school safety should continually be on the front burner of every police administrator. As a Sheriff and Chief Law enforcement officer of the County it will be my responsibility and obligation to work with all school districts in a cooperative and collaborative approach to plan for all types of disaster, natural and human caused. Being fiscally responsible: As Sheriff I will be fiscally responsive understanding the current lack of funds to operate Porter County. I have always demonstrated the ability to procure alternative funding sources through federal grants to offset this continuing fiscal crisis.

(5) Which of the current Porter County Sheriff’s Police policies or procedures would you change and why? which would you maintain? (100 words)

Lush: The Sheriff is the Keeper of the jail and that has been a travesty since 2002. Information given to me is the jail is inhumane and understaffed. Everyone is accountable to a higher authority be it the Sheriff, Indiana State Police Investigation Team, County Prosecuting Attorney, State Attorney General, and Governor. Awareness of the aforementioned should be at the conscious level of all employees. The Sheriff's Department needs cooperation from the law abiding citizens, Porter County Board of Commissioner's, and Porter County Council. Yes, the Porter County Sheriff's Department is a brother/sisterhood that should place the safety and protection of the citizens of Porter County above themselves. Change any adverse culture within the Porter County Sheriff department. Ethic courses to discourage the mindset that officers are above any Indiana statutes. Maintain the devotion of the PCSP force to serve and protect the community. Maintain the satellite offices if fruitful.

Reynolds: I personally reviewed and revised all of the polices and procedures of the Porter County Sheriff’s Department in 1999 and again in 2002. The Sheriff’s responsibility is to be proactive in reviewing all of the policies and procedures in order to be immediately responsive to the needs of the people of Porter County and in compliance with the State and Federal Laws. On July 1 the law will change regarding the classifications of crimes which will impact the inmate population at the jail. The jail policies and procedures will have to be reviewed in anticipation of this major influx of additional prisoners. The underlying premise behind every policy and procedure is to promote the ethical conduct of every employee.

(6) What is your strategy for attacking the drug problem in Porter County? (100 words)

Lush: The case against abuse of prescription drugs, dangerous drugs, like cocaine, marijuana, heroin are not being made aware to the public. DARE, Education, observance are the beginning points of attacking the problem. PCSP and a Community Response Team can help solve this problem. The Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 2013 focuses on abuse of prescription opiates and closing a principal gateway to heroin addiction. Drug addiction, prescription, and other unlawful use of drugs is a public health crisis besides a law enforcement matter. Dangerous drug usage of heroin or cocaine result in death. Tainted drugs are lethal.

Reynolds: A more aggressive approach must be taken to identify and apprehend those bringing drugs into Porter County, particularly heroin. This can be accomplished by working closer with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and DEA. As Sheriff, I will campaign for stiffer legislation regulating pseudoephedrine, a cold medicine ingredient used in the manufacturing of methamphetamine. I have always supported drug treatment alternatives, both within the jail and through other community resources, but we MUST take a more aggressive approach. When our children are dying of overdoses in record numbers, we cannot help but acknowledge the seriousness of this problem.

(7) Beside the abuse and trafficking of illicit drugs and prescription medications, what in your view are the two greatest threats to the security and well-being of Porter County residents and what specific actions would you take to reduce those threats? (150 words)

Lush: Domestic Violence: Which is intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and other behavior perpetrated by an intimate partner against another. It's an epidemic affecting every community. Domestic violence results in physical injury, psychological trauma, and sometimes death. The consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime. Request the victim acquire a protective order. Inattentive driving. Distracted driving is a contributing cause of 10 percent of fatal accidents and 30 percent of total accidents. Cell phone use while driving can cause major distractions for drivers, even those phones which are “hands free.” Talking impairs a driver’s ability to make decisions about driving, and it makes you four times more likely to be in a crash. The reaction time of those who are texting while driving decreases by 35 percent, making it difficult to avoid a crash. Texters are prone to drift out of their lane and steering control is 91 percent poorer.

Reynolds: Crime: We must stop bad people from doing bad things and hold them responsible when they break the law. We must ensure that officers and staff have all the resources they need to combat crime in the most economically responsible manner. We should never lose sight of this. Lack of Police Officers: With the increase in rural population, an examination of the allocation of patrol and investigative resources is necessary. As subdivisions develop, with no correlating increase in patrol personnel or detectives, the ability to respond to increasing rural criminal activity, such as burglaries and thefts (primarily drug related), has been greatly impaired.

 

 

Posted 4/8/2013