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Former deputy calls for protocol reform at sheriff’s office

October 28, 2012
By DAVID ALEXANDER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Randy Price thinks there needs to be some changes at the sheriff's office.

Price is running against Republican incumbent Ted Kamatchus for the office of Marshall County Sheriff Nov. 6.

As a former deputy at the Marshall County Sheriff's Office, Price said the way Kamatchus ran the department began to sour him on law enforcement. He said he could do a better job.

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And many people with whom he associates - many of which still work at the sheriff's office - agree with him, he said. He began to detect an overriding sentiment that pointed to shortcomings in the department's leadership eroding morale.

One of the areas he sees as needing drastic improvement is access to the sheriff. Price said Kamatchus is often gone, which impedes citizens' access to him. The sheriff should be available when people need to get hold of him.

"They elected you, so they should have the right to have one-on-one time with you if needed," he said.

Price served as a union steward at the sheriff's office and served as Gilman's police chief from January to July in 2009. He has also been a reserve officer in State Center.

Playing into that accessibility is how he sees the sheriff's role when it comes to a moderator of funds. Price said he is not a politician; he wants to be out among the people he would represent if elected, leading by example.

"I want to be out patrolling," he said. "The sheriff should be available."

He believes Kamatchus's frequent traveling hurts the department more than it helps it. It impedes access to the sheriff and expends money for travel endeavors that could likely be better spent, he said.

He said if the federal government awards grants on a needs basis, then it shouldn't matter who the sheriff knows. Anyway, the amount of federal dollars flowing into the county is but a drop in the bucket.

"The same grant you get from going out to Florida or D.C., you could write from your office," he said.

Not only should the sheriff have a flexible schedule, he should also pay close attention to safety concerns in the department, something Price feels Kamatchus is not terribly concerned about. He said deputies should have stun guns and that some duties should be shifted to ensure adequate coverage of the county at all times of the day.

There is no reason the sheriff can't help shoulder that burden by responding to incidents when he is the only available person to do so. In particular, he said the lack of coverage at night is starling. By the sheriff and other such staff fielding calls, it would also save money on deputy overtime pay.

"By changing some of those duties and changing who is doing them you can have more coverage on evening shifts," Price said.



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