The June 8th print edition of the Plainsman Herald contains a copy error on page 9. The below-included text is a corrected version of that text.
We printed two sets of questions, one set answered by Mike Smith, the other by Larry Forgey. By mistake, both were labeled as being answered by Smith. The second set were those belonging to Forgey. Therefore, we are making this corrective addition.
We at the Plainsman are dedicated to delivering high-quality, factual information to our readers. Unfortunately, we sometimes make these mistakes and appreciate our readers who point out these errors to us and allow us to set the record straight. On behalf of the editorial staff, I apologize for this mishap.
Yours truly, The Editor
As the local election cycle heats up this year, the Plainsman Herald is offering space for voters to ask questions and for local candidates to respond. One of the key local races is for the office of Sheriff of Baca County.
The Purpose of Local Government:
Some might add a few details or changes to this definition, but for our purposes, we will define local government’s core responsibilities as follows: To provide the essential range of services including public safety, roads, zoning regulations and arrange elections, providing workforce oversight, creating and implementing policy; construct, approve and implement a budget, while maintaining fiscal oversight in an environment amenable to citizens’ lives and livelihood.
Rules of Engagement:
We are offering up 5 questions to begin the conversation. This will give candidates a head start in explaining their positions/platform for their candidacy. We will hope to add 3 more questions submitted to each list for a total of 8 questions.
Don’t assume we will publish a question just because you submit it. We will retain editorial privilege as we vet the submitted questions. Keep your questions civil. We are not addressing state or national races as there are other forums for that purpose.
Candidates limit your answers to 50 – 75 words.
Submit your questions to the office at 849 Main or email email@example.com or via Facebook messenger; anything submitted as a comment via the Plainsman’s public Facebook page will be considered standard commentary and not as a question for the candidate.
1. What qualities must a sheriff possess to be effective in their position?
2. What are the biggest challenges facing effective law enforcement in Baca County and how would you deal with those challenges?
3. Research indicates that the longer a child stays out of trouble, the less likely they will turn to crime? What would you do to get at-risk youth on the right track?
4. What are your views on present-day issues of increased alcohol abuse and DUIs, increased drug trafficking in meth and/or heroin, mental health, and the impact of legalized medical marijuana with potential for abuse with illegal growth and distribution?
5. Why are you the best person for the job?
Reader Submitted Questions
We asked for and have received a few questions from our readers. In our original rules for engagement, we said we would add additional questions for a total of eight (8) questions. We have received quite a few additional questions including the one printed last week. We will repeat the 1st one from last week and add two more.
Reader Submitted Question #1 Do you support the ‘America 2021’ project?
Reader Submitted Question #2 Describe the difference between proactive and reactive law enforcement, and if space allows, elaborate on the impact either or both have on the community.
Reader Submitted Question #3 What are the most common misperceptions of what a sheriff can and cannot do in their role as the leading law enforcement officer in a rural community?
Answers to Questions for the Candidates from Sheriff candidate Mike Smith
1. What qualities must a sheriff possess to be effective in their position? A sheriff should be post certified, have law enforcement experience, and supervisor experience. A sheriff should have knowledge of the duties and tasks within law enforcement to effectively manage, communicate, express empathy, and lead the agency. A sheriff should be a resource to not only the Sheriff’s deputies, but other law enforcement and emergency personnel. A sheriff should be an active listener, have the ability to adapt in any situation, attention to public safety, and strong moral character.
2. What are the biggest challenges facing effective law enforcement in Baca county and how would you deal with those challenges? One of the biggest challenges facing law enforcement throughout our country is recruitment and retention, and Baca County suffers the same. Other issues facing law enforcement are transparency, public trust, community policing, budget support for needed improvements, and training. Due to staffing per shift, proactive policing and time management is essential to being effective. Even with the challenges we currently face, my deputies and I will continue to enforce the state and federal laws with public safety and service in mind.
3. Research indicates the longer a child stays out of trouble, the less likely they are to turn to crime? What would you do to get at-risk youth on the right track? Youth interactions present unique challenges to law enforcement. I would work to create opportunities within the school and community for positive interactions with officers. My deputies and I would attend school functions and speak to classes regarding drugs, alcohol, bullying, and any other social issues. I would make myself and deputies available to the youth by building relationships and earning youth trust with social interaction and an-open door policy.
4. What are your views on present day issues of increased alcohol abuse and DUIs, increased drug trafficking in meth and/or heroin, mental health, and the impact of legalized medical marijuana with potential for abuse with illegal grows and distribution? This is a compound question, that while I would like to answer, a 75-word limit will not suffice. In short, Colorado has laws against drugs, alcohol, DUIs and drug trafficking which will be enforced under my administration with public safety in mind. Every legislation year brings law changes; however, enforcement of the current laws is imperative as a sheriff. You may reach out to me personally for further expansion on this topic.
5. Why are you the best person for the job? I have over 20 years of law enforcement experience with a bachelor’s degree in Public Safety Administration. I have a proven record as a successful supervisor of more than 20 officers within the Colorado State Patrol Pueblo Troop. Throughout my years of law enforcement, I trained cadets at the academy and in the field, which holding instructor title in multiple skills. Being from Baca County, I have chosen to raise my children in Baca County with a vested interest in improving the communities.
6. Answer to reader submitted question #1 I am seeking clarification on the question regarding “America 2021” project. Do you have a specific topic within that project that you would like me to address within my 75-word limit?
Answers to Questions for the Candidates from Sheriff candidate Larry Forgey
1. What qualities must a sheriff possess to be effective in their position? A deep-rooted knowledge of the American Story: Why, and how it came to be, and what it takes to keep it. A desire to serve the people, and protect their livelihood. Knowledge of how to encourage good behavior and discourage the bad. Be accessible and available. Knowledge of legislation, and how it affects our lives, and strong opposition to laws that negatively affect liberty. A knowledge of the Scriptures, to know ultimate accountability.
2. What are the biggest challenges facing effective law enforcement in Baca County and how would you deal with those challenges? We are facing the challenge of an increasingly Godless society; i.e., socialism, creating dependency upon the state. This in turn leads to substance abuse, theft, and a lack of respect for life, productivity, and property making Baca County a more dangerous place to live. A Godless society has no clue how to deal with Godless behavior. Wherefore, there is no redemption, no reformation, and no renewing. This in turn makes law nothing more than something that makes life more difficult and meaningless. As Sheriff, I want to increase opportunities for good behavior and make bad behavior difficult and painful, by increasing pressure on criminal activity with a strong presence and working with the citizens that make Baca County work.
3. Research indicates the longer a child stays out of trouble, the less likely they are to turn to crime. What would you do to get at-risk youth on the right track? Implement a voluntary community program with activities to encourage work ethic, respectable speech, and manners, and motivate productivity. Teach the American Story: How to maintain and defend the liberties that God has given us. Benevolence: the consideration of one another for good.
4. What are your views on present day issues of increased alcohol abuse and DUIs, increased drug trafficking in meth and/or heroin, mental health, and the impact of legalized medical marijuana with potential for abuse with illegal grows and distribution? These issues are the result, primarily, of the socialistic policies being implemented; encouraging sick behavior, in turn causing a sick and dying culture and country. It’s crippling our youth!
5. Why are you the best person for the job? I believe we can win against this assault on our communities. It has to start at the “People” level, where authority resides, in families, morality, and Americanism. Government needs to be close enough to be affected by the People, redressed, and limited by the People, and not meddling in the lives of the People. Bottom UP! I will stand for your life, liberty, property, and the Constitution.
For the benefit of our readers, we have included June 1st’s answers from Aaron Shiplett below.
Sheriff Aaron Shiplett Answers Questions for the Candidates
In last week’s Herald we printed a list questions for the candidates for the office of Baca County Sheriff. We intended our questions only as foundation with the hope that by asking community members we would get a few more questions so that voters may have more information with which to make their decisions (See page 11 or last weeks issue for the ground rules and initial questions). So far we have we have received the answers to the initial questions from one candidate and one additional question from the community that we have shared in this weeks issue and which we have/will pass on to the candidates. This week we present the answers to our initial questions from incumbent Sheriff Aaron Shiplett.
Question 1. What qualities must a sheriff possess to be effective in their position? Some qualities that make a sheriff effective are commitment to helping individuals, dedication to the community and excellent communication skills. A sheriff must be open minded, able to adapt to changing times and community needs, and be compassionate but relentless in their pursuit of justice. The sheriff must also have a firm knowledge of federal and state laws, local ordinances, court rules, and understand the legislative process. It is increasingly imperative for your sheriff to be a Constitutional Sheriff.
Question 2. What are the biggest challenges facing effective law enforcement in Baca County and how would you deal with those challenges? The biggest challenge facing Baca County law enforcement is the recent onslaught of poor legislation which was drafted with the metro area in mind. What works for the city won’t always work for rural Colorado. Another major challenge is fighting the relentless assault on our constitutional rights by all forms of government. The county’s law enforcement agencies are understaffed and recruiting qualified officers to come to Baca County has proven increasingly difficult.
Question 3. Research indicates that the longer a child stays out of trouble, the less likely they will turn to crime. What would you do to get at-risk youth on the right track? Law enforcement is in a unique position to identify youths that begin down the wrong path in life. If re-elected, I will continue to support youth activities such as 4-H, school sports, church youth groups, as well as scout programs. I will continue to work with children and their families on a case by case basis to ensure the safety of the child and the community as it takes a village to raise a child.
Question 4. What are your views on present-day issues of increased alcohol abuse and DUIs, increased drug trafficking in Meth and/or heroin, mental health, and the impact of legalized medical marijuana with the potential for abuse with illegal growth and distribution? Substance abuse and mental health concerns are often connected and are becoming prolific across the State of Colorado and nation. The response the Colorado legislature had to the substance abuse epidemic was reducing criminal penalties for possession of methamphetamine and heroin and focusing on rehabilitation per HB19-1263 starting in 2020. The passage of this bill has been devastating to Colorado law enforcement’s ability to control these drug crimes, as well as crimes related to illegal drugs. After HB19-1263, the 15th Judicial Drug Task Force was disbanded in 2020. Then, Baca County Law Enforcement created our own Drug Task Force with no resource assistance from the State to combat these crimes, and we are now moving forward in a positive direction.