As the election year continues, Boone County is gearing up for 2004’s primary. The election, in which voters from each party will select nominees for federal, state and county offices, will be held on Aug. 3. The general election, in which voters will make final selections for those offices, is Nov. 2.
The August primary will feature intraparty elections for a host of offices. On a state level, voters will choose nominees for governor, secretary of state, state treasure, attorney general, state senator and state representative. In Boone County, races include the 19th District senate seat and state representative in the 21st, 23rd, 24th and 25th districts. Voters will also choose county nominees for the positions of county commissioner for the Southern and Northern districts, sheriff, county treasurer, county assessor and public administrator.
With the exception of the county central committees, which will be chosen in August, the same offices will appear on the November general election ballot. Only one candidate per party will remain in the race, however.
This week, the Missourian takes a look at the candidates for the Boone County sheriff.
Four people are in the race for Boone County sheriff.
As an enforcement captain at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department, Carey supervises officers stationed south of Interstate 70. He has worked at the department for 15 years, handling jobs with road enforcement and the emergency response team, which he now commands.
“I feel that I’m the best guy for the job,” he said. “I think a lot of people up there have invested a lot of time into their career, as Ted Boehm has just done wonderful things with the sheriff’s department. We’ve just become a professional department over the last 20 years, and I think I’m the guy to continue that professionally.”
Carey hopes to continue programs started by Boehm with help from funding from Proposition L, a sales tax earmarked for law enforcement. He wants to continue building substations in the county to reduce response times and looking into alternative sentencing to curb jail crowding.
Carey said he also hopes to ensure that Proposition L money continues to be used for law enforcement.
“I want to give the same guarantee that Ted Boehm gave to the citizens of Boone County, and that is that money is going to be used for the cops on the street, equipment, that type of stuff,” he said. To do that, Carey said, he would work with the County Commission and the auditor to create a well-planned budget.
He also said he would address traffic safety by adding more officers to road enforcement.
“We have one traffic officer right now that works day shift,” he said. “One guy can’t cover all the areas and all the complaints that we receive in the county.”
Covington, who has 24 years of law enforcement experience, is the academy training director for the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association. He has served as both an instructor and an administrator at the group’s academies.
He said he is running for sheriff to give back to the community.
“Boone County and the citizens of Columbia have been very good to me and my family,” he said. “I believe I have the experience, the knowledge, expertise and leadership abilities that can help the department move forward and help the citizens of the county.”
Traffic safety, domestic violence and the trafficking of methamphetamine and other illegal drugs are issues Covington said he wants to address if he becomes sheriff.
For domestic violence, Covington said he would to work closely with the public and private sectors as well as the courts and prosecutors to better educate the public and encourage intervention.
He said he also would like to see more open communication and intelligence sharing among law enforcement agencies in and around Boone County. Even if better coordination doesn’t eliminate the drug problem, Covington said, at the very least “it’s not going to be a comfortable place for them to do business.”
Overall, Covington wants to see more community involvement with law enforcement.
“I believe that Boone County is a very diverse community, and there’s a wealth of talent there, a wealth of expertise,” he said. “I believe that the department should actively recruit volunteers and community members to help the department in providing a service to the citizens of Boone County.”
Kreigh is a former detective with the Boone County Sheriff’s Department. He was supervisor of the drug enforcement unit and the emergency response team. Kreigh resigned in January after being disciplined by the department after an investigation into an October 2003 drug operation in which a sheriff’s deputy fired two shots in self-defense. He had been with the department since 1982, when he was a volunteer officer. He became a full-time officer in 1989. He also ran Good Trails Inc., a Yamaha and Suzuki ATV store, with his wife for 18 years.
Kreigh said he feels as a lifelong resident of Columbia that the quality of law enforcement in Columbia directly affects the residents’ quality of life.
“I felt that my private sector business experience coupled with my 21-year law enforcement experience gives me a broad experience level,” he said.
Growth in Boone County is the most important issue, Kreigh said, because it affects the entire sheriff’s department, from road services to the jail.
“As our population grows and increases, there will be more demand for law enforcement services in the county. I think that’s the single biggest challenge.”
Kreigh said he wants to train department workers to improve their professional standards. He also would facilitate more community involvement with the department to deal with Columbia’s growing population.
“I believe strongly that community policing implemented in the county will help reduce the load on law enforcement by proactively dealing with problems and collaborating with members of the community and dealing with problems before they get out of hand,” he said. “I think that’ll be a very important part of managing that growth.”
Stone is the chief deputy of the Boone County Sheriff’s Department and is responsible for developing and administrating policy within the department, overseeing administration and acting as sheriff when Ted Boehm isn’t available.
Stone said he thinks the next sheriff needs to be responsive to residents, something he said he has shown during his 27 years at the department, 20 of which have been in administration.
“I think I can bring to the office preparedness and to continue on with the efforts we’ve made with the department over the last many years to improve the law enforcement services to the citizens of Boone County,” he said.
One major issue Stone would like to address is crowding in the jail and the costs involved with housing prisoners.
“One of the things I’d like to do is stop spending so much money outside Boone County,” he said. “I would rather not build a new jail in Boone County or add on to the jail because that’s so incredibly expensive. We need to continue exploring the alternatives to incarceration that are available.”
Stone said he also would like to continue the decentralization of the department by creating more substations and dividing the county into two districts with a commander in charge of each. That way, officers would be able to respond faster to outlying areas of the county.
Stone said he would also like to create a residents’ advisory panel.
“It could add much more credibility to any internal investigation that we do, to any policy development that we do and any programs that we start when we have that community input,” he said.