November 2, 2012

Grady County Sheriff debate

The Express-Star

OKLAHOMA — What is the first thing you will change if elected?

Jim Weir (R): If elected the first change I will implement is to have the deputies start working off the county radio frequency instead of the 800 system. They will still have the 800 system for back up. Working over the county radio frequency not only lets the municipalities in the county know what is going on around their towns and cities it will lighten the work load on the dispatchers making them more efficient.

Jeff Franklin (D):  If elected, I will continue to make our presence known, which will help in deterring the current crime rate in Grady County.

How many of the current deputies will you keep and how many do you plan to bring on?

JF:  I plan to keep those who are currently working for the department. To my knowledge, the department is short six officers who have resigned. So, for the meantime, I will work with those still there and make adjustments to the sheriff's office, which may include hiring additional officers if it is needed. Otherwise, I will work with what I have.

JW:  At this time I cannot state how many of the current deputies I will keep.  I have been monitoring the sheriff’s office since the primary. There were a few very experienced and capable deputies that were dismissed without cause.  Many deputies have already left seeking other employment even though I assured them that my staff would evaluate every one before making any personnel decisions.  I am sure we will keep some of the current deputies and also offer positions to some of the qualified deputies that were dismissed without cause.

What is the number one policing issue in Grady County?

JW:  Although illegal drugs are always a problem, at this time the number one policing problem in the county is a large amount of burglaries and larcenies. I have been in contact with  District Attorney Jason Hicks and know his investigators are working diligently on this problem.

JF:  I feel that the biggest issue in our county is the steady increase of burglaries and drug activity. It is not limited to homes and cars, but it also includes residents' farm equipment. There is nothing worse than stealing a man's way to make a living. This is an issue that affects our entire county, not just on a personal level, but on a financial level as well.

How will you work with other departments in Grady County?

JF:    I will mandate that the sheriff's department and its officers work diligently and respectfully with other agencies; providing assistance to those agencies as needed and insure that other police, EMS and fire departments are aware of deputies serving warrants or engaged in other activity that may affect those departments and citizens of it's community.

JW:   As previously stated we will be working with the other departments in Grady County to improve radio and in person communication.  I will insist on a free flow of information from the sheriff’s office to all municipalities. When a deputy’s duty takes him into a municipality he will be required to contact the law enforcement officer on duty and brief him. I have already talked with most of the chiefs in the county about updating our interlocal agreements and cross commissioning qualified officers for life threatening situations. This may help insure a situation that occurred a few months ago just outside Blanchard, where a women was forced to shoot and kill an intruder, will not happen again.

Do you plan any sort of overall staff increase or decrease if elected?

JW:   I  plan on increasing the staff to include several well trained and experienced reserves. I currently have several of these reserves standing by waiting to come back and start serving the citizens of Grady County the day we take office. Hopefully we will be conducting a reserve academy in the near future. I currently have staff researching grants and other options to increase manpower, training and equipment.

JF:  I would like to add more reserve officers to the sheriff's department. Not only would this help increase staff, but will do so without increasing the budget. I may have to add more paid officers, but I will have to evaluate the department and our budget first before I make any decisions.