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Posted by: thepinetree on 04/08/2014 01:01 PM Updated by: thepinetree on 04/21/2014 07:41 PM
Expires: 01/01/2019 12:00 AM

Sheriff Gary Kuntz "Why I’m Running For Re-Election

Calaveras County, CA...When I ran for Sheriff four years ago, law enforcement in Calaveras County faced some real challenges. I believed then that my 24-year career in Calaveras County law enforcement made me the best candidate to confront those challenges, and I asked for your vote. I sincerely appreciate the trust placed in me by the voters. Back then I pledged to fight for public safety. I pledged to put emphasis back on community policing. I pledged to help get the jail project back on track, and to restore trust in the Sheriff’s office. Today, working together, we have made real progress on all these fronts.

Click Above To Visit The Candidate's Facebook Page and This Advertisement Paid For By The Committee To Re-Elect Sheriff Gary Kuntz

Despite a widely dispersed County population and an ongoing budget crisis, with the support of the Board of Supervisors we were able to increase the number of deputies on patrol and decrease Average Response Times. The Average Response Time for all calls is now 36 ¾ minutes, down around 4 ½ minutes, or 11%. For emergency calls, the Average Response Time is now around 19 minutes, down 1 ¾ minutes, or 8%. Average Response Times are heading in the right direction.

Overall, general crime prevention activity has greatly increased. In 2010, the year before I took office, the number of car stops was 1106. In 2013 car stops were up over 300% to 3116. Checks on commercial buildings and businesses are also up significantly, going from 21 in 2010 to 495 in 2013. Overall, violent crime is down about 17% since 2011.

As I know personally, burglaries are a problem in Calaveras County. So far, we have fought burglaries to a draw, with reported burglaries-in-progress the same in 2013 as 2011, and burglaries-not-in-progress about the same in 2013 as 2011, but down 10% from 2012 despite AB109 and other issues. We are heading in the right direction, and working together I know we can do more.

But improving crime statistics are cold comfort to the ones who are the victims, and nobody understands the benefits of crime prevention more than they. To try and reduce the number of crime victims, four years ago I pledged to emphasize community policing.

A key part of our emphasis on a return to community policing has been re-establishing a viable Resident Deputy program. When I took office there were zero resident deputies. Today there are resident deputies in Copperopolis, Valley Springs, West Point, and Arnold. Next on the list is Murphys.

Emergency response is vital – it’s a big part of what we do. But resident deputies are about more than faster response times.

Resident deputies can know their communities in ways patrol deputies obviously cannot.
Resident deputies allow day-to-day communication and relationship building between law enforcement and the citizens they are sworn to protect.
Community based policing breaks down the “us against them” mentality that can develop between citizens and law enforcement, and replace it with cooperation in finding solutions to day-to-day problems and preventing crime. Successful community based policing programs can also pay dividends during investigations. When law enforcement is trying to locate persons of interest, trust and community involvement can be invaluable.
We need more resident deputies, and while I am Sheriff the critical process of getting the right resident deputy in the right community will continue. We are heading in the right direction.

Another area where we have made progress in Community Policing is the Sheriff’s Volunteers program.
The sheriff’s Volunteer group is very important to the department. They help immensely to stretch limited budgets as they provide critical support services within the Department.
As Sheriff, I have worked to return the Sheriff’s Volunteers program to the position of respect it deserves. Today, the ranks of the Sheriff’s Volunteers are growing and the benefits they bring to Calaveras County are increasing. We are heading in the right direction.

Law enforcement in rural communities like ours is different than in large urban areas.

Coming from a farming and ranching background, I understand what it’s like to lose livestock to theft and illegal shooting.
While the rural nature of our County makes these crimes hard to prevent, for the first time we have two deputies who have received special training in agricultural crime, including dealing with crop and livestock theft and vandalism.
Today, agricultural crime is heading down.

Another aspect of rural law enforcement that differs from the inner city is the understanding and approach taken to the issuance of Concealed Carry Weapons permits, or CCWs. By law, the requestor of a CCW may not receive the permit unless they have taken a certified course on gun safety and civil liability. Since being elected, the number of CCW permits issued by my office has increased from around 350 to over 1100. I am a strong supporter of Second Amendment rights, and I am especially pleased that the number of women becoming certified and receiving the CCW permit has risen sharply.

Four years ago I pledged to restore public trust in the Sheriff’s Office.

Having worked for four different Sheriffs in my career, I’ve learned from the strengths and weaknesses of each one. One critical lesson I learned was the importance of fair treatment for all, regardless of anyone’s ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, or politics.

That’s why from my first day as Sheriff no one has been treated any differently than anyone else in my office. As your Sheriff, I have never treated anyone as my political friend or my political enemy. Everyone is entitled to equal protection and respect under the law and while I’m Sheriff that is the way it will stay.

Working together we are moving in the right direction – but we can’t afford to let up now.

I’m running for re-election because despite the progress we’ve made, tough challenges remain for the Sheriff’s office.

Some have actually suggested that because we’ve made good progress, we can afford to make deep budget cuts on law enforcement. I believe this would be the wrong approach. As your Sheriff I will continue the fight for public safety.

I understand the County’s fiscal situation, and the Sheriff’s office is committed to being part of the solution to the County’s budget crisis.

But it is important to remember that law enforcement is a critical part of the County’s economic development potential. Who will invest in Calaveras County if it isn’t as safe as another county? And how much more likely is someone to invest if we’re relatively safer? Law enforcement is as critical a component of economic development as adequate water or roads, if not more so.

I am a Calaveras County man. I graduated from Calaveras High School in 1970, and after working almost 16 years as a cement mason I joined the Calaveras County Sheriff’s office in 1985. My entire 28-year law enforcement career has been with the Calaveras Sheriff’s office. I am the father of three children and nine grandchildren. I am dedicated to working for a safe, prosperous, and healthy future for them, and everyone in Calaveras County.

We need more Resident Deputies, not fewer. We need more support for the Sheriff’s Volunteers, not less. We need even faster emergency response times, not slower.

I’m running for re-election as Sheriff of Calaveras County because I have demonstrated the leadership necessary to make the progress we’ve already made. And I’m running for re-election because I will fight to keep the gains we have made, and to do even better.

Four years ago I asked for your vote. And to continue the real progress we’ve made together, I respectfully ask for your vote again.

Thank you very much,

Sheriff Gary Kuntz
April 2, 2014

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