Sheriff candidates have diverse goals

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 16, 2002

Three Freeborn County Sheriff candidates met in the studio of Power 96 Thursday to air their views on issues surrounding law enforcement and answered questions from listeners.

Albert Lea Police Department Lieutenant Phil Bartusek said building a partnership between the sheriff’s office and other law enforcement agencies such as city police, firefighting organizations and the State Patrol is a key for him to achieve.

Referring to his past efforts to reach out the community through tobacco and alcohol compliance checks and youth crime-prevention programs, Bartusek emphasized the involvement of citizens.

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&uot;This partnership must include senior citizens, minority groups and our youths,&uot; he said.

Mark Harig, who retired from a supervisor/investigator position in the Sheriff’s Office last year, said he would fully utilize his expertise in narcotic investigations to ensure a safer community.

&uot;Narcotics account for about 90 percent of our crimes in the county,&uot; Harig said. &uot;I see that as the biggest issue. Since I have left the Sheriff’s Office, Freeborn County has no one working in narcotics investigation. I want to get back on track with the drug problem and get people involved.&uot;

Sheriff’s Office Supervisor/Investigator Bob Kindler stressed his education and administrative capacity.

Having a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and being in a supervising position for years, Kindler said, &uot;I have 15 years of experience in the sheriff’s office. And the last several years as an administrator I maintained the department’s process that needs to be done on daily basis.&uot;

&uot;I know exactly what is going on within the office. I know the personnel. I am very confident with these experiences I can carry forward the sheriff’s office.&uot;

To consolidate the partnership he mentioned, Bartusek proposed designating two out of five Supervisor/Investigator positions as officers in charge of communicating with deputies, other law enforcement-related bodies and the public.

&uot;They will do the things I do as a lieutenant in the police department,&uot; Bartusek said. They will supervise the deputies … They will coordinate the sheriff’s office response to other departments in Freeborn County. They will assign deputies to special events. They will do the alcohol and tobacco compliance check program for the county.&uot;

Harig pointed out the sheriff’s office workforce is in a transition, with a large amount of turnover. &uot;We’re gonna have a young department. And there is gonna be the need for a lot of training,&uot; he said.

Harig proposed that he would assign young patrol deputies to get into the communities by visiting coffee shops and other businesses during the day, and to assign them to attend township and city meetings.

&uot;They need to meet the people to know what’s going on in the communities, so that they can contact the people they can check with when they are looking for information,&uot; Harig said.

Kindler highlighted his administrative experience and capability in the sheriff’s office, exhibiting his knowledge in the department’s budgeting and other managements.

&uot;My involvement with the budget is almost on a daily basis. We need to maintain our budget as far as overtime wages are concerned and equipment appropriations. Those are the things sheriff consults with me on,&uot; said Kindler. &uot;I am very familiar with what the budget says.&uot;

Kindler showed his support for the new judicial complex, underlining his involvement in the designing by providing suggestions to the architects. But he also said the future sheriff would need to respond any decision made by the county commissioners.

&uot;We have to remember that the decision to build has not necessarily been made. We are still in the stage where we think we’re gonna go ahead and do it. But the commissioners, obviously, can rescind the decision any time,&uot; he said. &uot;And if they do decide to rescind that decision, and not build, I am prepared to do whatever we need to do to minimize our overcrowding in the jail, work with whatever budget we have, and continue.&uot;