Scott County sheriff -- Rick Walter

Sunday, November 2, 2008
Rick Walter

Name: Rick Walter

Party: Democratic

Birth: Sept. 26, 1960, Chaffee, Mo.

Spouse, children: Lisa Walter; Natalie, 23, Trent, 21, Seth, 18

Occupation: Scott County Sheriff

Employer: Residents of Scott County

Businesses owned by candidate or spouse, all or in part: None.

Public offices held: Scott County Sheriff, 2004-present.

Past political campaigns and offices sought: Scott County Sheriff, 2004.

Question 1: What is the most important issue facing the next Scott County sheriff?

Answer: I think the most important issue facing the Scott County sheriff is the ongoing drug problem. The sale and use of illegal drugs lead to serious problems all across America and Scott County is no exception. We have made major strides in our work against the drug problem with our 24-hour patrol and a record number of arrests; however, enforcement is not enough. Drug prevention education is needed and that is why I have reinstated the DARE program in our schools. Our office operates the DARE program in all public and parochial schools in Scott County, with the exception of Sikeston public schools which has its own program. Our involvement with youth does not stop with DARE. We have established a very active Explorers Program for youth. I also work with Mission Missouri -- an excellent organization dedicated to education and prevention of drug-related problems for children and adults. We have been at the forefront of the battle against the abuse of prescription drugs. I know that when we stop drug-related crimes, we lower the incidence of all crimes in our county.

Question 2: What in your background or education makes you qualified for this office?

Answer: I have four years' experience as Scott County Sheriff. I graduated from Southeast Missouri State University Law Enforcement Academy and the National Sheriff's Institute. I also attended the Federal Law Enforcement Training Academy at Brunswick, Ga. I have attended numerous training academies and law enforcement classes. I hold a current, valid law enforcement license from the state of Missouri. I have worked as a law enforcement officer at the federal, state and local level.

Question 3: Why are you better qualified than your opponent?

Answer: I am better qualified than my opponent because I hold a law enforcement license and my opponent does not. As of Jan. 1, 2003, Missouri State law states that a sheriff must hold a law enforcement license. If the sheriff does not hold this license, he must refrain from all law enforcement activities. I believe the people of Scott County deserve a sheriff who is licensed by the state with full law enforcement powers. As a deputy and as sheriff I have responded to hundreds of calls for service. I also have a strong background in private business. I believe the sheriff's office should be managed using solid business practices.

Question 4: Scott County faces a loss of revenue with an expiration of the sales tax dedicated to law enforcement. What steps should be taken to ensure proper protection for Scott County residents and adequate funding for the jail?

Answer: The protection of the residents of Scott County is always our No. 1 priority. I realize that good, proactive law enforcement costs money and all counties have limited finances. I have implemented several programs over the last four years that have generated more than $500,000 of new money for our county. A few of these programs include jail commissary, inmate phone system, bookings fees, medical co-pays, civil process fees and gun permit fees. My office has also written more than $250,000 in new grants to help pay for upgrades in training and equipment. We have been in negotiations with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to house their detainees. In July of this year, I received confirmation that our price had been approved. Last week, I received confirmation from Washington, D.C., that we should receive detainees by the middle of November. Housing these detainees will bring in additional funds to help offset the costs of operating the Sheriff's Office.

Question 5: Local governments throughout the region are struggling to balance their budgets as sales tax revenue drops off because of economic conditions. What efficiency measures do you propose to bridge any funding gaps?

Answer: Law enforcement is continually changing and we have already made several adjustments in the organization of the Sheriff's Office. We have added a K-9 Unit, a SERT Team and a Search and Rescue Unit. Funding for these new units was made possible by private organizations and volunteers.

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