Published 8:11 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Editor, Smithfield Times
If there’s one thing we always had before 2012, it was dedicated protection to our schools. When I began as an auxiliary deputy, one of our biggest functions was protecting the children through the Identi-Kid program. But special attention was always paid to each school, and we got funding to keep a deputy in every single school.
Since 2012, coverage has been shrinking, and not just deputies in schools, but all over the county. The latest figures clearly show there’s only staffing of 27 deputies, and when I worked for the county, we had over 40, not counting the auxiliary staff.
And what has been happening? Looking at facts and figures, salaries to those 27 deputies have ballooned. I’m not against a pay raise, but to sacrifice public safety, response time, coverage and even officer safety is crazy.
Only two candidates for election actually talked about what causes crime and how to prevent crime: Jennifer Stanton and Russell Stephenson. Both of these candidates talked about the dire importance of school resource officers in schools, about specific deputies who were dedicated to solving problems and about the enormous impact that drugs, linked to 42 percent of crime here, has on our community.
If you missed the candidate forum not long ago, you missed these two passionate and informed candidates talking about solutions, while their opponents either defended themselves or tried desperately to justify their personal career aspirations.
We don’t need defenses, excuses, crying or $4 million lawsuits against our county. We need real candidates who are passionate about solving problems: Jennifer Stanton for Commonwealth Attorney and Russell Stephenson for Sheriff.