We are sitting here on the edge of the weekend, going into what should be a relaxing time at home for most.  It’s Father’s Day on Sunday.  For some, they will gather around family, have dinner, and show their appreciation for their fathers.  For two fathers, they very likely will spend it out out doing some last minute campaigning, albeit likely with family in tow.

The men, incumbent Sheriff Jerry Niles and challenger Cory Rink, graciously agreed to answer some of Route 60’s questions as we go straight into the election on Tuesday.  However, remember…this IS the Route 60 Sentinel, not the New York Times.  We do like to have our cake and eat it too.  While we do ask your typical “campaign” questions, we also ask….well, you will see.  This is in the spirit of the Sentinel, as we have nearly always done in our history.

For fairness we asked both men pretty much the same questions with only some minor variations.  We kept it brief.  And as ALWAYS, we use the candidates words.  We don’t change them or paraphrase.  These are directly from them.

557361_4515309207713_986926807_nFirst up, the challenger.  Cory Rink.

1. How to do you feel you can do a better job than Jerry?

I do want to make this straight and clear that I’m not going to get on here and talk bad about my opponent. I’ve had some messages here recently that I believe that they are just trying to get me to talk hateful about my opponent in which I refuse. But what I do want to talk about is how I want to bring training to the sheriffs department. I want to implement a monthly training program. A monthly training program will go along ways into assuring the safety of the public as well as our officers throughout Garfield County which includes our dispatchers and jailers. Our jailers need to be trained monthly to insure safety throughout the jail. Over the last four years we’ve had some incidents which have occurred within the jail and I believe that they could’ve been prevented

2. Are you prepared to name me undersheriff?

Why yes you can be my junior deputy undersheriff. Lol

3. What’s your choice of music?

My choice of music is country and old country. I do love some good old two stepping music

4. Knowing that everyone can support whomever they want, how do you feel about an openly bigoted business supporting you? Did you supply them with campaign materials? And will you here and now condemn their business practices, which have been openly documented by local and Oklahoma City media? 

Yes everyone can support whomever that you would like to support. That is their first amendment right and is the job of the sheriff to protect their First Amendment rights. I don’t know all the facts about being racist and so on so forth. I don’t know if it’s true or not. But I do know that gentlemen went out on his own and bought some of the campaign material to pass out. It was not paid for by this campaign. Over 1000 Blue signs were bought and passed out by many people who are Cory S Rink supporters.

5. Has this campaign been what you expected?

No this campaign has not been what I have expected. I have learned many things about campaigning that I never knew about. It has been an interesting ride but also a fun experience

6. What in your mind is Garfield County’s biggest challenge going forward?

The biggest challenge is to closing the doors to the drug houses. I’m going to work hard at closing the drug houses within Garfield County

7. Hypothetical question. You win: first thing you do….go!

The first thing that I will do is put the citizens of Garfield County first and I promise to implement a monthly training program to have better trained officers which will serve you the citizens of Garfield County.

jerry nilesAnd now for the incumbent, Sheriff Jerry Niles.

1. How to do you feel you can do a better job than Mr. Rink?
I think different is a better way to say as to how to lead the office. First, experience, with 37 years, I have seen, done and lead more than his seven years in law enforcement. With fourteen years as Undersheriff and now nearly four years, I know all areas of the office.

Second, training, I hold several management and leadership schools including the FBI-LEEDA leadership course, along with a variety of courses in narcotic investigations, crime scene, canine handling, field training and have an instructor’s certification. Third, dealing with a wider variety of issues, including investigations, calls, legislative issues, and my wider network of contacts in various levels of law enforcement gives me an advantage. I sit on the advisory board for the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training and am a board member of the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association, both a voice for training and law enforcement statewide.

2. Are you prepared to name me the next undersheriff should Undersheriff Fagan decide to retire?

NO, Rick Fagan is a wealth of knowledge, having over forty two years of experience, retiring from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol as a Troop Commander. He brings working knowledge and contacts from across the state to help our office. Rick came on board and has seen first-hand what a Sheriff’s Office does. He says there is no comparison to other types of agencies, in how much we do with as little as we have. Rick is asset to the office as is every other member of my staff.

3. What’s your choice of music?

Post punk revival……..NO, kind of eclectic in that I like county/western, {pre 2010}, rock, pop, jazz, bagpipes, Sinatra, Dean Martin, George Strait, Eagles…………

4. Knowing that everyone can support whomever they want, how do you feel about an openly bigoted business supporting your opponent? And will you here and now condemn their business practices, which have been openly documented by local and Oklahoma City media? Do you ask your deputies not to frequent the establishment while on duty?

I am a constitutional person and believe in the freedom of speech. That individual has a right to support whomever he desires. I cannot support nor have I ever supported that business, which has poor business practices, charging meals based upon appearance, attitude or the owner’s disposition. Based upon his attitude towards law enforcement, my staff has not conducted business there.

5. Has this campaign been what you expected?

Yes and no! Every campaign cycle is different; technology plays a part in running a campaign, so that is always playing catchup on, but the visiting with people, remains the same. Years ago, when Bill Winchester took office and I came in as undersheriff, I told the deputies that we are campaigning every day. Because we are in the people business and our service is job one. Still holds true today.

6. What in your mind is Garfield County’s biggest challenge going forward?

Budget is always mindful, but even more so is what the state legislature does to county and city governments in unfunded mandates or changes in laws which cost taxpayers at the local level. We will be seeing that come November 1, with the criminal justice reforms. Those “reforms” change some crimes from felony to misdemeanor offenses which means offenders have to be sentenced to county jail time. That means more people in local jails, leading to overcrowding, and all the cost at the local level.

7. Hypothetical question. You have unlimited resources to work with….go!

1. A hundred bed addition to the jail with four classrooms, for counselling and education programs 2. Patrol cars! Our office averages 50000-55000 miles a month in patrols, transports, trips 3. Staffing! It would be nice to have adequate staffing at all times 4. Training, we have been blessed with our new building, which is allowing us to increase our training greatly. I can truly say my office does more training than 90% of the area departments, but we can do better. 5. Technology. We are always looking at ways to get information out, to receive and share information, to provide for the citizens, but it is expensive. Hope these answers work

Now it’s up to you Sentinel Nation.  Who do you choose at the ballot box?   Perhaps a bit later on, I will weigh in on exactly who I would pick in this election.  Until then…