As I humbly seek your vote for a third term in office as your Linn County Sheriff, I pause briefly to look back at what the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office and I have accomplished together over these past eight years, and what we can look forward to doing together as we move into the future.
During my tenure in office, I helped lead the way for our new countywide communications system, which enables all emergency responders in both Linn and Johnson counties to seamlessly communicate with each other. This corridor radio system will soon become regional, with the addition of Black Hawk and Iowa counties.
We have upgraded to shared software packages that enable the Cedar Rapids Police Department and our employees to seamlessly exchange data between agencies. We are currently installing upgraded mobile data computers in our vehicles. This will help deputies quickly locate emergency incidents and more easily complete and submit their necessary paperwork.
Due to the ever-increasing violence in today’s world, we are providing active shooter training to school districts, businesses, community groups, and Linn County employees, to better prepare them to protect themselves in violent encounters and active shooter situations.
In response to some well-publicized national incidents, we have increased our de-escalation training and have ensured that we have adequate non-lethal tools available to our deputies when those options are more appropriate than using lethal force.
In an attempt to increase our professionalism, we have required all of our employees to complete Blue Courage training. This two-day leadership development program recognizes the nobility of policing and helps to build a guardian rather than warrior mind-set in our employees. Blue Courage trains our employees to control their emotions to better enable them to recover from the stressors that they face daily. It also helps to build community trust between deputies and our citizens.
We also very recently began offering Institute for Credible Leadership Development training. This in-depth, 180-hour course is designed to develop our employees’ leadership, character, ethics, emotional intelligence, and decision-making skills. It also helps to create ethical leaders in our employees.
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The mental health emergency that we are currently experiencing has caused us to find ways to better interact with people in crisis. Several of our employees will soon be receiving Crisis Intervention Team training. In turn, they will provide this training to the rest of our staff, thus ensuring that we are better able to assist people in crisis.
Also, in an effort to ensure that our encounters with the public are more transparent and to assist with officer safety efforts, we are in the process of purchasing high definition body-worn cameras that will seamlessly integrate with our in-car camera system.
As I close my comments, I would like to sincerely thank the citizens of Linn County for electing me to serve as their sheriff for the past eight years, and would be honored if they allow me the opportunity to continue to serve them in that capacity.
• Comments: BDGgardner@aol.com for political correspondence or firstname.lastname@example.org for work-related correspondence.