Bruce Baker on the Issues
Good governance isn't complicated--actually it's quite simple. Here's how Bruce Baker will ensure the Franklin County Sheriff's Office is always working for the people of Franklin County.
Law enforcement of the people, by the people, and most importantly for the people.
It’s time to refocus our sheriff’s office. The Sheriff may be a political position, but that doesn’t mean we have to act like it. Enough of the cuff ‘em and bust ‘em attitude. It’s done our county no good, as addiction rates and overdoses continue to skyrocket. Let’s take a different approach.
Whenever possible, your police and public safety officers should be drawn from the communities they serve. The sheriff’s department should take an active role in nurturing the next generation of police, fire, EMS, and others and instilling in them the same love and dedication to serve their communities that we share. Summer camp programs, afterschool programs, school resource officers, the list of underutilized resources available to us is nearly endless. These are the tools we so desperately need to put to work. To get ahead of crime, of addition, rather than racing to catch up as we have been.
As sheriff, I will work to ensure that Franklin County policing abides by the golden rule: do unto others as you would have done unto you. I will see to it that our recruiting efforts are focused within our community, not without, and that promotional priority is given to first and foremost to our own officers, drawn from the community, before we go hiring outside. Under a Baker Administration, the needs of the community will always come first. We aren’t about headlines or arrest rates—even if they make for better Facebook posts—we’re about doing what’s right for our neighbors and community. Sometimes that will mean taking off our Law Enforcement hat and putting on our friend hat, our helper hat, our neighbor hat. For example, every day around the country, hundreds of elderly folks spend their days alone and forgotten by their community. These folks, the custodians of our nation’s wisdom and experience, often die alone and undiscovered for days or even weeks. Franklin County is no exception. As a law enforcement officer I saw this up close and in person far too often. As Sheriff, I vow to implement a system of neighborly welfare checks to protect our communities oldest and most vulnerable.
We’re spending too much money, and we’re spending it inefficiently. Taxpayer dollars are being guzzled in the gas tanks of county vehicles that spend as much time out of the county as in the county. This is both improper and dangerous for the taxpayers, who are held liable when accidents happen—and they have happened. Our force is also wildly top-heavy. We are well above average for number of Sheriff’s Deputies per capita compared to other state counties, so why isn’t this reflected on the street where it counts? Far too many of our deputies are purely administrative, or do not regularly put their rubber to the road and do the work that betters our communities. This is why the Sheriff’s office routinely goes over budget. This is why Franklin County remains to this day the third highest tax county in the state, with some of the least return to show for it. This cannot stand any longer. As Sheriff, I will reorganize the Sheriff’s Office so that our force can be put to good use—deputies on the street, doing the type of community-oriented policing I believe in.
I vow to take an ethics pledge. To treat your money with the respect and reverence it deserves. I will be completely transparent with where taxpayer funds go, regularly updating the public through all available means so that you know your money is being spent wisely, frugally, and with integrity.
“I vow to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”
I took this oath 29 years ago when I was sworn in as a law enforcement officer in Franklin County, and I have lived it every day since. As Sheriff of Franklin County I vow never to enforce any unconstitutional orders by any body, foreign or domestic. Whether it be censorship, your right to bear arms, unlawful search and seizure, or any other violation of good governance. I will never allow my neighbors rights to be infringed on so long as I live and breathe. I will hold my deputies to the highest standards. I will defend our Bill of Rights tooth and nail, because Constitutional rights are not suggestions, nor are they privileges endowed by our government which can be rescinded at will. I will thoroughly investigate and pursue incidents of misconduct, and I will see to it that all people of Franklin County receive the rights and privileges endowed by our creator and enshrined in law on July 21st, 1787.