Sheriff's race

EDITOR’S NOTE: What follows are the Maryville Forum profiles on the Democratic and Republican candidates seeking election to the office of Nodaway County Sheriff in the Aug. 4 primary election. Voters will choose between Republican Douglas Lager and Republican Randy Strong in the primary. The candidate chosen by voters in the primary will face Democrat Darren White in the general election on Nov. 3. The profiles are based on answers to an identical set of questions submitted to each candidate by The Forum. By candidate choice, not all questions were answered.

DOUGLAS LAGER

County resident: 47 years

Spouse: Marsha Lager

Children: Krysta,16; Madison, 7

attend Jefferson C-123

Current Job: Truck driver and Reserve Deputy with Worth County; A state of Missouri Licensed Paramedic, FBI Crisis Negotiation Team certification, certifications in investigations and cyber crimes 

Q: Why do you want to be sheriff? 

A: Because I find that it is not about me. It is about serving the people of the county in all facets, from keeping the peace to education.  I feel that helping the children of the county is one huge responsibility of the Sheriff and his Deputies.  As with being a paramedic it’s about helping people and not about yourself.  

Q: What do you planto accomplish in your first 30 days?

A: The first 30 days is going to be establishing where the office stands for manpower and getting the deputies out in the county and talking with the county residents.

Q: In your first 90 days? 

A: The first 90 days will be continuing to train deputies where things are located in the county (for example: old landmarks that residents refer to and small towns such as Gaynor, Bedison, and others.)

Q: What do you think is the most important skill of being a good sheriff? 

A: Being able to communicate well with people. Also, being able to take criticism when things did not go as expected then learning and growing from those experiences.

Q: What is the biggest need of the sheriff’s office now and what would you do to fill that need? 

A: The biggest need of the Sheriff’s office now is the need for deputies that know the county, know the residents of the county, and being trusted by those residents who depend on the Sheriff’s office to protect and serve them. 

Q: How have the past few months changed your outlook on the role of law enforcement, if at all, and what do you see that role as now? 

A: The past few months will forever change law enforcement and now is not the time to leave your deputies or officer “hung out to dry”.  As the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the county, it’s time to step up and lead by example and show ALL the communities that we are here for them. 

Q: Many law enforcement agencies and news outlets across the country have committed to stop publicly posting mug shots of non-violent suspects, especially for drug-related arrests. How important is it to you that the public see mug shots of suspects and why? As sheriff, will you continue the practice of posting mug shots to social media for non-violent arrests? 

A: As far as mugshots go, I could go either way.  But if you’re going to post some of them you need to post all of them.

Q: With anticipated funding shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do you think the sheriff’s budget will be negatively impacted?

A: I would hope that the budget will continue at its current pace.

I worked for Former Sheriff White and watched his budget get cut each year for 5 years. There was room for 1 new car at minimum and he kept everything in good working order.  I don’t know where the sudden increase in money has come from. In my opinion, I see a lot of new toys.  I know that every deputy had a new pistol bought for them and all new uniforms which was unnecessary, due to the fact, that all deputies had full uniforms and working service pistols at the end of Sheriff White’s service.  

The entire budget for the county will be impacted by COVID-19, not just the sheriff’s budget.  It would completely shock me if the office’s budget stayed at status quo.


RANDY STRONG

County resident: 46 years

Spouse: Vicky Strong

Children: Three adult children and six grandchildren.

Current job: Sheriff of Nodaway County

Other relatable boards or positions: Executive Committee Member of the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee, U.S. Attorney’s Office; Sexual Assault Response Team; Member of the Missouri Sheriff’s Association; Certified Firearms Instructor; Northwest Missouri Major Case Squad

Q: Why do you want to be sheriff?

A: I was blessed by having a very successful career as a detective. Serving victims of crime has been a passion that is very rewarding. Proper training was the key to my success, as was working with other agencies. I wish to continue as your Sheriff so that I can inspire and pass on my knowledge. To train Deputies and Investigators so they can provide crime victims with affective law enforcement.

Q: What do you plan to accomplish in your first 30 days?

A: We will be in transition using the new consolidated 911 center, that will be named “Northwest Regional Communications.” We will be planning on our new budget for 2021. I will be evaluating training needs of each deputy. I will be working on the water recovery/swift water rescue project.      

Q: In your first 90 days?

A: I partnered with “North Star Advocacy Center” to provide training to law enforcement and victim’s advocates.  We will plan and schedule training. The Water Rescue Project will continue. We will evaluate the safety and security of our jail.

Q: What do you think is the most important skill of being a good sheriff?

A: A good sheriff should be thoroughly familiar with modern tactics, technology, and training. He or she should possess a morally strong personality. The sheriff should exhibit integrity, respect, professionalism, commitment, and compassion. And the Sheriff must recognize the necessity for all law enforcement agencies to work together for the benefit of the citizens.

Q: What is the biggest need of the sheriff’s office now and what would you do to fill that need?

A: Due to current national events, law enforcement is experiencing a severe shortage of qualified people needed to fill vacancies. This will be a major hurdle across the country and it will affect us locally. The commissioners and I need to think outside the box to come up with a solution to attract and to keep qualified deputies. Otherwise we will not be able to fill our ranks. I have been successful by working with a local high school that placed a student in our organization where he received real world training. He finished school and we hired him to work in our jail. We need to look to our schools and find students that are interested in a career with the Sheriff’s Office. Secondly, those of us in leadership roles must be vigilant and remove abusive individuals in our organizations that damage citizen trust.  

Q: How have the past few months changed your outlook on the role of law enforcement, if at all, and what do you see that role as now? 

A: My outlook has never changed. I have been an advocate to make sure that people in law enforcement are moral, trustworthy, and have integrity. Those of us in administrative roles must be diligent to rid our ranks of abusive officers.  

Q: Many law enforcement agencies and news outlets across the country have committed to stop publicly posting mug shots of non-violent suspects, especially for drug-related arrests. How important is it to you that the public see mug shots of suspects and why? As sheriff, will you continue the practice of posting mug shots to social media for non-violent arrests?

A: Booking photos of those formally charged with a crime are public record.  It has been my experience locally that if I don’t post the booking photo, the local media will call asking for it to be emailed to them.  

Q: With anticipated funding shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do you think the sheriff’s budget will be negatively impacted? 

A: That is yet to be seen. Keep in mind the county will be receiving money from the wind farms. Since I have been in office, I have used grants and funds from local trusts to purchase items that we need. This has kept my budget costs down. Local trusts were not used prior to me taking office in 2017. I look for quality affordable training for the deputies.  We train in house when we can. Deputies must have 24 hours of training per year. I have also partnered with the Prosecuting Attorney, Maryville Police and Campus Police, to share the costs of certain expensive equipment. We conduct fund raisers that totally fund our DARE program.

Q: Are there any other brief comments you’d like to add?

A: I worked with the city, county, and state stake holders to consolidate the new 911 communications center. I have also greatly improved training for deputies. Our successful investigations of serious assaults and drug trafficking cases is a result of better training and leadership. We continue to plan for the future.


DARREN WHITE

County resident: 42 years

Spouse: Maribeth, Registered Nurse at Children’s Mercy Hospital

Children, age, school: Caitlyn, 30, administrative aid to the warden, Nebraska Dept. of Corrections, York, Nebraska; Bailey, 21, graduate student, University of Northern Iowa; Anna, 16, junior at Maryville High School

Current job: I currently operate a family business

Education: Attended Northwest Missouri State University

Q: Why do you want to be sheriff?

A: I want to be sheriff because it puts me in a position to guide the sheriff’s office in a direction that best serves all of the county.

Q: What do you plan to accomplish in your first 30 days? In your first 90 days?

In the first thirty days I would get the deputies back out in the county focusing on patrol and responding to the people’s needs. In the first ninety days I would focus on taking that to the next level and work on rebuilding those relationships and trust with the community so that once again the people become an active part of the crime prevention process.

Q: What do you think is the most important skill of being a good sheriff?

A: The most important part of being the sheriff is the ability to interact and communicate with people. The sheriff needs to be approachable. He should never be a person that thinks he is better than the people he serves.

Q: What is the biggest need of the sheriff’s office now and what would you do to fill that need?

A: The biggest needs of the sheriff’s office is to get back to basics. Get out in the community and be responsive to the needs of the people, no matter how small.

Q: How have the past few months changed your outlook on the role of law enforcement, if at all, and what do you see that role as now?

A: I really have not changed my outlook on law enforcement. I have often said that law enforcement can be their own worst enemies. We often times fail in communicating to the public what it is that we do. If anything I believe that now is the time for true leaders to not run away but instead, run toward the problem. We have to remember that we work for the people and it is only with their trust and confidence that we succeed.

Q: Many law enforcement agencies and news outlets across the country have committed to stop publicly posting mug shots of non-violent suspects, especially for drug-related arrests. How important is it to you that the public see mug shots of suspects and why? As sheriff, will you continue the practice of posting mug shots to social media for non-violent arrests?

A: Most of what law enforcement does is not supposed to be a secret. That includes mugshots and arrest information. If an agency is going to make that information public then it all needs to be public. It is not our place to decide what is serious and what is not. Unfortunately a good majority of people arrested for drug offenses are typically involved in other criminal activity.

Q: With anticipated funding shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic, do you think the sheriff’s budget will be negatively impacted?

A: I believe that budgets all across the board will be negatively impacted. Having been involved in a family business for over 30 years I know firsthand how this has affected our bottom line. Understanding that our government operates on tax revenues and knowing that our economy has been shut down, everyone’s budget will be impacted.

Q: Are there any other brief comments you’d like to add?

A: I would just like to add that having been sheriff for eight years, my responses do not come from a position of false promises. They come from a position of experience. 

During my administration deputies were out in the community doing their job and doing it with pride. The sheriff’s office never told anyone that they were “simply too busy” to help. I promise it will be that way again.

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