As part of E-City Beat’s continuing effort to help our readers make informed decisions as voters we have sent questionnaires to all local candidates in the upcoming general election and will be publishing their responses starting today.
Today we feature the candidates for Cascade County Sheriff, Jesse Slaughter (D) and Bob Rosipal (R). Here are the three questions we asked each of them:
- Why are you the best candidate for the position you’re running for?
- Please identify three specific goals you want to achieve if you are elected and how those outcomes will benefit Cascade County citizens.
- What is the biggest challenge facing Cascade County generally and the biggest challenge facing the specific department you are seeking to lead and how will you address that challenge?
1. Why are you the best candidate for the position you’re running for?
I am committed to Cascade County as both a community member and a Deputy. I have been a Deputy Sheriff with the Cascade County Sheriff’s Office for over 25 years. I set my career goal to become Sheriff when I was first hired. I gained the knowledge and experience in every area of the Office so when it came time for promotion, I was ready for that next position. I have led patrol shifts as a sergeant and lieutenant and have held every position on the SWAT team, from an operator to the current Commander. I was also assigned as the Chief Deputy Coroner and the training supervisor for the Office.
There will be a change in leadership in January. Those I work with know I will provide a great culture and climate for them to work in. I am supportive, I listen, and I am flexible when others bring ideas to the table. I recognize those that have done a good job. I take responsibility for my decisions and don’t point the blame somewhere else, and I expect that from others as well. I know our Office, the needs of the Office, and I will make sure it will continue to grow in a positive and productive manner. I can lead the 150 staff members into that positive change. I had several Deputies approach me and ask me to run for Sheriff, which is very humbling. I am supported by deputies and command staff in this campaign.
I have extensive budget experience. I began working with the budget in 2005 and I have been fiscally responsible for those budgets assigned to me.
2. Please identify three specific goals you want to achieve if you are elected and how those outcomes will benefit Cascade County citizens.
My goals for the Office are to build the Reserve Deputy program, form a citizen’s committees, and hire more deputies.
The Reserve Deputy would work along side a full time Deputy in functions around the County, such as; the fair, rodeos, etc. These positions would give experience to volunteers who are looking to pursue a career in law enforcement as well.
The citizen’s committees will be made up of various citizens from around the County. We would meet to discuss issues in their area and come up with solutions to problems. They would know what the Sheriff’s Office is doing, which shows transparency. These meetings could take place in a school, the fire stations, or senior centers. To go along with this, I would be attending monthly Townhall meetings in Belt and Cascade who we have contracts for service with.
I want to hire more deputies. Having more deputies on the road means better coverage of the County. I would like to assign another Deputy to the drug task force. I will have to work closely with the County Commissioners when it comes to any goal that has a cost.
3. What is the biggest challenge facing Cascade County generally and the biggest challenge facing the specific department you are seeking to lead and how will you address that challenge.
The biggest challenge Cascade County is facing right now is the jail. No one person can fix this issue. The Sheriff, Jail Commander, Judges, and County Attorneys are working everyday together to lower our population, with the safety of our citizens in mind.
Having a pre-trial screening process is a great idea, but it also comes with a financial cost. Hiring the right amount of people to review each offender, doing backgrounds on offenders, deciding what the appropriate alternative (GPS, 24/7, SCRAM, ect.) is and purchasing the equipment will be costly.
Rehabilitation programs for those addicted to drugs and alcohol are very important and can work, but we cannot change the criminal mindset in people. However, I believe drug and alcohol education for the youth in our schools needs to be a (Sheriff’s Office) continuing priority.
Why are you the best candidate for the position you’re running for?
The Sheriff is one of only a few law enforcement positions selected by the people. My desire to be Sheriff of Cascade County is not about me, its about our future…the future of your family, my family, and our community.
I am a public servant at heart and I care deeply for the people of this county. For 18 years I’ve had a very successful career serving the people of Montana. I started as a civilian coroner, then a deputy sheriff/coroner. I spent a decade protecting the residents of Great Falls as a police officer and Master Police Officer before I was appointed to my current position as a detective, specializing in protecting children.
The Cascade County Sheriff’s Office has been stagnant for many years, it is the right time for an infusion of new leadership and technology; I am excited to foster an environment of inclusion and empowerment. With members of the community, and the very talented men and women of the Office, we will work together to improve timeliness of law enforcement services, to integrate current technologies, to increase safety on the streets and within the detention center, and to plan the sensible spending of your tax dollars. We will look for new opportunities to serve the county, and we will provide the strength to do what’s right, even when it may not be popular.
This county is full of wonderful people who believe in putting up a hard day’s work, being a good neighbor, and enjoying what our beautiful state has to offer. Its important we are always moving forward while we protect our traditions and build upon our legacies.
It’s not a cliché, or a political catch line, when I say that I bring new perspective to the office. The time is right now, I am the right leader, and it will be my honor to be Sheriff of Cascade County, Montana.
Please identify three specific goals you want to achieve if you are elected and how those outcomes will benefit Cascade County citizens.
INCREASE THE SAFETY OF CASCADE COUNTY’S RURAL SCHOOLS – As a law enforcement officer I have spent a large portion of my career protecting children. I am proud to be part of the team who pioneered the first course teaching Great Falls’ emergency personnel how to respond to an active shooter incident.
I am already working with parents and faculty to introduce a comprehensive and affordable strategy to increase the safety and security of the seven schools in rural Cascade County. We will call on highly skilled and trained community members to serve as Reserve Deputies assigned to protect our most valuable resource every day.
FOSTER TRANSPARENCY WITHIN THE OFFICE – The Sheriff’s Office is an office of and for the people. We must be more transparent by opening our doors to the community. By providing you with a firsthand understanding of the office and our limitations, we may rally your support to help us push through the confines of “status quo” so we can far better serve the community.
We will improve the transparency of the internal hiring and promotion processes. The men and women of the Office deserve fair and consistent treatment.
BECAUSE OF YOU, FOR YOU – We work for the people of Cascade County. We must thrive on a culture of providing excellent law enforcement, detention, and coroner services. With an influx of innovation and a fresh perspective, we will use face-to-face interactions, and technology advancements, to honor our legacies, appreciate what’s happening now, and anticipate what the future needs of our community may be.
What is the biggest challenge facing Cascade County generally and the biggest challenge facing the specific department you are seeking to lead and how will you address that challenge?
JAIL OVERCROWDING – We must implement an innovative long-term solution to the overcrowding of the Cascade County Detention Center, the largest detention center in northcentral Montana.
When the jail can no longer house offenders effectively, the safety and vitality of our entire community suffers. Law enforcement officers, judges, and probation/parole officers must possess the option to incarcerate a suspect or offender when they determine it necessary.
I am already building a team to research the implementation of pre-trial programs that can aid in keeping low-risk offenders out of jail. When a low-risk offender can continue working, and contributing to our community, they maintain the ability to pay toward their fines and toward restitution to victims.