The Only Sheriff’s Forum preceding the primary was held on April 27th. I had the opportunity to answer four questions alongside the Sheriff. This format really didn’t let us challenge each other or go in depth on our answers so I wanted to follow up here with more information.
This complete video is available at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQ6Mn3ZAnIU
We had two minutes to answer each of the following questions.
Question 1: What is your vision of how the Sheriff’s Department (Office) will run under your leadership?
I am not happy with where we are now which is why I am running for Sheriff. I believe that when you’re looking for a Sheriff, like any other business, you need to hire the most qualified candidate to run the business of the Sheriff’s Office. We need a lot of things and I think Dave and I will agree that we need a lot of things. We need 24/7 patrol, we need detectives, we need canines, we need all these services.
To have those we need an administrator who’s worked those systems before, has the education, the qualifications, and the experience to provide those services.
Unfortunately, we’ve heard a lot of talk over the last seven years that we’re building back, we’re getting there. But we’re not there folks and it’s time to accelerate and get there quicker.
I have a bachelor’s in Public Safety Administration, a Master’s in Business Management, a Master’s in Disaster Preparedness, I have 20 years’ experience in a Sheriff’s Office where I was a patrol deputy, I was a Sergeant, I was a Patrol Sergeant. I’m well-rounded in my experience and qualification and my budget experience to get a handle on our budget and control our spending so that we can spend the money where it needs to be spent and that is in service.
We are a public service agency, when you pick up the phone and call the Sheriff’s Office you need somebody to come. At the moment call that’s the most important thing in your life and we can’t minimalize that and not give you the kind of service that you’re paying for.
Should we pay more? We can always use more money, and with more money you receive more services, but we need to provide the best service we can with what we have today, and I intend to do that for you.
Question 2: How would you prioritize the Department’s (Office’s) duties? You have limited manpower; how will you decide what are the most important problems to tackle?
I think the most important thing in talking to the people over the last four years is the patrol. We must have 24/7 patrol out there. When you pick up the phones that are going to come.
My priority is going to be to balance the budget, that’s going to happen with some fund accounting changes in the county so that you know exactly what the Sheriff’s Office revenues are and what the expenses are and then we’ll prioritize those expenses in patrol to give you the services that you deserve.
Question 3: The Sheriff’s Department (Office) is expected to have a 5.4-million-dollar shortfall by 2023. What is your thought process for how to fund your department (Office) the long-term success?
One of the three pillars of my campaign is citizen involvement through town hall meeting and citizen advisory committee to talk to the Sheriff. I believe it was Commissioner Baertschiger who asked two important questions… What do you want and what are you willing to pay for it? We need to ask our citizens, what do you want and what are you willing to pay for it? and then we need to come up with a way to pay for it.
I think we need to be thinking outside of the box and that’s what I’ve been doing, what other revenue streams can we possibly come up with to help generate funds and I raised some at a town hall meeting and I’ll stick with them.
I would propose an ordinance that states If you’re driving suspended, if you’re driving without insurance or if you’re driving under the influence, we impound your car. We store your car for 30 days and then you pay the towing fee, storage fees and an administration fee to get your car back.
Is it little money? Yes, it’s little money, but they shouldn’t be driving their car on the street anyway.
Volunteers. Sheriff Gilbertson had a great volunteer program ad we need to get more volunteers involved. We had over 2,000 volunteers at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office doing everything from clerical, search and rescue, animal care and so much more. We need to get our citizens back involved and lots of people have told me they want to be involved but they just don’t have the opportunities currently to do so.
We need to modify our current fund accounting. Right now, our budgets are split across four or five different department funds. The inmate canteen fund is shared with the airport fund, the jail fund is shared with juvenile justice and the animal control budget is shared with the animal shelter. We need to bring all our funds into the Sheriff’s fund so that you can see where the money is coming from and where it’s going.
Sheriff Daniel’s response was to do one of two things: potential seasonal sales tax or a potential taxing district. He plans on a special election prior to November or adding this to the November election, if that fails, they will bring it back in May 2023,
Question 4: We seem to have the same criminals committing multiple crimes, what would you change to make sure that criminals are held accountable for their crimes and citizens are protected?
I honestly don’t know that that’s something that’s going to fall into the position of the Sheriff. The Sheriff, Oregon State Police and Grants Pass City Police can arrest people and take them to jail but it’s the District Attorney’s Office that decides who gets to stay in jail. The Sheriff doesn’t have the authority to keep somebody in jail because they’re a repeat offender, the judicial system does (that is why we live in a country with separations of powers, to prevent one branch for abusing its authority). So, we need to work with the people at the courthouse, with our district attorney, with our jail release office and say enough is enough and set some new parameters.
The Sheriff’s Office does not have the authority to say I’m just not going to let that guy out.
Sheriff Daniel began his answer stating that he respectfully disagreed with my answer. He stated that they have the ability to hold certain individuals and they do literally on a daily basis with something he calls a Do Not Release (DNR). He then back peddled and say they still have the opportunity for bail, and they can get out that way. He wrapped up by saying Mr. Knapp is right that a lot of it is out of our control, The DA has to obviously be involved and then the judge can obviously let people go. He closed with… we can to a certain extent but not much as far as keeping them incarcerated.
Our country has laws that prevent law enforcement (executive branch) from writing laws and sentencing an individual, Courts (judicial branch) can’t write nor enforce laws and the legislative branch can’t enforce law or judge an individual. This separation of powers is to protect us as citizens.
I believe that I am the most qualifies candidate based on my education, training, experience, and background that has probably ever run for sheriff in Josephine County.
My service and dedication to this community is unquestionable. I want to continue to serve, and I feel based on my talents, education, experience, and qualifications that the best way that I can serve you the best is to be your Sheriff.
I would like to ask for your vote in November, Jon Knapp for Josephine County Sheriff.
In the Sheriff’s closing he repeated some of the same mis-leading statements he has made over the past years:
We have resident Deputies – In order to be a resident Deputy, you need to live in those communities, not in Grants Pass.
We have an animal care division – We had one before, it was just managed by a different county department.
We have a canine division – A comfort dog IS NOT a canine division and not a good use of public monies
We have a detective division – One detective is not a division, and a sergeant that supervises a one-man division is not fiscally responsible.
For those who attended the forum, Thank you for your support. If you did not attend, I encourage you to follow the link and watch the video. I think you will come to the same conclusion as many others…
Vote for Jonathan Knapp for Josephine County Sheriff.