BLUE magazine: What do the people of Sussex County have to say about their Sheriff’s Office regarding areas that may need improvement and how do you plan to meet their expectations if you’re elected?
Andy Boden: What I hear all the time from the people of Sussex County is, “What exactly does a Sheriff do?” They are usually generally aware of the corrections aspect of the organization but have little knowledge of the many other functions. I believe there is much more that the Sheriff’s Department can do. My plan is to get out into the communities and ask them what they need and make every effort to assist them.
In terms of intelligence-led policing, where does the Sheriff’s Office currently sit, and what measures would you take to keep up with technological advances in law enforcement?
“Intelligence-led policing” is a very important practice. I believe that we need vast improvements on how we approach this concept. We need solid information sharing between networking groups involving all the key stakeholders at the municipal, county, state and federal level. The only way to make this a reality is to get everyone involved with the practice and to be 100% committed to it. There are amazing advances in law enforcement technology on nearly a daily basis. It’s an exciting time and I would like to take full advantage of what becomes available, that is of course applicable. I would assemble a working group of the best and brightest from the law enforcement and civilian tech community and have them advise me on what becomes available and how it would benefit the residents of Sussex County.
Community policing; what does it mean to you and how would you plan to deploy it evenly throughout Sussex County?
Community policing is a concept I believe in whole heartedly. One of the most positive changes in law enforcement over the last decade has been a return to this approach to policing. I would start with greater awareness of what the Sheriff’s Department has to offer the residents, increase officer training, and place a large focus on rehabilitation services in order to tackle the heroin epidemic plaguing our communities. Working with local representatives, I will get out into our communities and aid in crime prevention, safety, and drug and alcohol awareness. An often overlooked group in our communities is our seniors. I want to get out into our senior communities, and aid in the prevention of fraud, scams, and elderly abuse. I will be a partner to these people and agencies, by getting invested and involved.
School safety is a major concern and widely debated. As Sheriff what position would you take to ensure Sussex County Schools are safe?
School safety is absolutely a major concern of mine, after all I’m not only an officer, I’m a father of four children. The only debate taking place regarding school safety, in my opinion, should be on to how to properly secure our schools to ensure we get the best results for our financial investment. I would like to see our Sheriff’s Officers out making school visits on a regular basis, as well as helping train school staff and students on how to properly react to a school safety incident. We have a tremendous amount of talent currently in our ranks and this is an area where I believe we can have a great impact.
Statistically the opioid crisis is increasing, and Sussex County is not excluded from these stats. How do you plan to combat this growing crisis if elected?
Reflecting back to my previous answer regarding community policing, I touched on this subject because I believe it has a major impact on our resident’s lives. No one is immune from this horrendous epidemic; rich, poor or middle class; it doesn’t matter. Sussex County is suffering greatly and something must be done. My plan would be to employ the ILP approach and combat it from an intelligence angle. I would encourage the development of confidential informants, increase drug recognition and interdiction training, and build a task force composed of local, state, and federal members. I would also look for any available grant money that could be used to not only combat the trafficking of heroin, but help in the rehabilitation efforts. One thing is for certain, incarcerating addicts does nothing unless it is coupled with a comprehensive drug rehab program.
Some Sussex County inmates have recently been shipped out to Morris County. Does this benefit the people of Sussex County and does this move run the risk of laying off officers?
I get this question quite often, and just as often, I am misquoted. I am in no way against shared services. One of my priorities is to ensure that the “Shared Services Agreement” currently being implemented and negotiated is done with complete transparency, in the best interests of the taxpayer, and to ensure that Sussex County’s ability to protect its residents and visitors is not diminished in any way. The benefit to Sussex County is yet to be clearly identified. I do support shared services and will work with the County Freeholders to ensure, if in fact there are to be additional transfers, they are done with every aspect of the service being considered. Again, if shared services are the best move for the county, then I would like to explore avenues which include possible repurposing of the correctional facility and its professionally trained staff who currently serve the County of Sussex with distinction.
Thank you for sharing your insight with us and we wish you the best of luck in the upcoming Primary.