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Sheriff candidates discuss law enforcement needs

Today The DAILY LEADER begins a special question-and-answerseries with candidates in some of the county’s top races in theNov. 4 general election. We are starting with the race for LincolnCounty Sheriff. Independent candidate James Williams chose not toparticipate.

What are the top three problem areas for Lincoln Countylaw enforcement, and how do you plan to address them?

James Wiley Calcote: Drugs, property crimes andfunding are the top three problem areas for Lincoln County lawenforcement.

Drugs: Continued education of our youth through effectiveprograms such as DARE and the training of drug enforcement officersare two ways to combat this problem. Continued training of ourlocal drug enforcement officers will result in more convictions andcombat the selling of drugs.

Property Crimes (burglary, theft, etc.): Communities andneighborhoods county-wide working hand-in-hand through theNeighborhood Watch will equip home owners with knowledge andawareness to better protect their homes and property, and, ofcourse, 24-hour deputy patrol on all county roads. We will havecommunications between the citizens and the sheriff’s department,and we will follow up. Let my experience work for you, the peopleof Lincoln County.

Funding: I plan to work with the court systems in an effort todecrease the time local government has to pay for the housing ofinmates before they become the responsibility of the state.Additionally, I plan to pursue federal and state funding andequipment for the department so that the county will not have toraise taxes to pay for this. Once the inmate is sentenced, he/shebecomes a state inmate. I intend to work on decreasing the timefrom when the county has to pay housing and the state picks it up,thus saving the taxpayers’ money.

Charley Evans: Throughout my campaign I havespoken with literally thousands of Lincoln County citizens who haveopenly expressed concerns about what is going on within our county.Many believe that too little is being done about the sale ofnarcotics. Others feel left out and unsafe in their homes forvarious reasons. Some see law enforcement as an adversary ratherthan friend. I have taken these contentions to heart and ifelected, they will be in the forefront of my administration. Myassessment of the problem identifies three areas of immediateconcern:

1. Inadequate training and low morale within the department.

2. Lack of organization and systematic approach to solving crimeand crime prevention.

3. Insincere attitude in responding to citizen complaints withno follow-ups to crime victims.

My first order of business will be to restructure the departmentand initiate advanced in-service training. Special crime scenetraining will be provided for department investigators to bring thelatest forensic techniques to our county. This will improve ourability to successfully prosecute the more complex cases. Everydepartment employee will be trained to be a more effective publicservant.

The vast majority of our citizens are rarely involved with crimebut they are still very important to the department. The departmentmust work hard to build trust and integrity with the public andrestore proper dependence on law enforcement. Without public trust,law enforcement will be ineffective at best. Good supportingcitizens are the bedrock of our community.

My second order of business will be to collect and coordinateintelligence information on known and suspected criminals in thearea. This is important if we are to successfully investigate andbring them to justice. I subscribe to tried and proveninvestigative techniques that will get the job done. With properlytrained officers and good planning, criminal activity in thiscounty will be diminished and/or eliminated.

A central theme for the department will be accountability. Everycomplaint will be responded to as quickly as possible withoutexception and a case file established. A follow-up system will bein place to ensure no case falls through the cracks. All victimswill be kept fully informed of the investigative results of eachcase whether successful or unsuccessful. Be assured the departmentwill be accountable in every respect to the citizens.

Why should the voters of Lincoln County entrust you withthe county’s top law enforcement job?

James Wiley Calcote: Law enforcementexperience. I am a certified law enforcement officer withadditional training in criminal justice and criminalinvestigations. Being a Lincoln County Constable for the past 12years has given me experience in dealing with felony criminalinvestigations and misdemeanor crimes. Serving as Post OneConstable has also given me experience in time management anddecision making. When a person is talking, he cannot listen. I willlisten to the needs, concerns and problems of the people. I willwork hands-on in the sheriff’s department. My roots grow deepwithin Lincoln County history with a love and respect for thepeople. I am a family man with two small children who watch eachstep I take; therefore, I carefully take each one. The voters ofLincoln County can entrust me with their vote. I am who I am,unwavering in my responsibilities with the belief there is nothingtruly great in any man, save his character, which follows himwherever he goes. Let my experience as a certified law enforcementofficer work for you, the people of Lincoln County.

Charley Evans: I believe the first and foremostconsideration is character. My character is grounded in strongspiritual strengths. I was ordained a Baptist deacon in 1966 and myChristian growth is built on high morals, integrity, honesty andspiritual insight. Fairness is the paramount issue in every case.My wife and I have been married 42 wonderful years and God hasblessed us with three children and eight grandchildren. I know ofnothing what would cause me to do anything that may bring shameupon my family or my Heavenly Father.

The second major consideration is the job itself. The sheriff’sdepartment is the largest department in the county and with my manyyears of departmental administrative leadership I have the skillsto assume immediate operation with no loss of time.

The department has a staff of 44 personnel with an annualoperating budget of 1.7 million dollars. Any person assumingresponsibility of a department that large without actual leadershipand administrative experience will be seriously handicapped. Shouldthat occur, the county will suffer a major setback in thatdepartment that will not be overcome for years to come.

Monday: Supervisor District One.