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Meet the county sheriff candidates

By Staff | Oct 17, 2008

Today, the Estherville Daily News proudly presents its second of five installments of the annual Question-and-Answer for the General Election.

To be fair to every candidate, answers are being published in order received.

Part two focuses on the Emmet County Sheriff’s race. The three candidates are Mike Martens, Morris Jorgensen and Gene Haukoos.

Q.: What is the first action you plan on taking as Emmet County Sheriff?

Haukoos: As sheriff the first thing I will do is host a meeting with the leaders of all Emmet County law enforcement and emergency response agencies. At that meeting we will form the groundwork that will allow all agencies to train and work together. This will provide an efficient and effective way to provide the citizens of Emmet County with more protection and service.

Jorgensen: My first action will be to put an end to the ( let’s make a deal) policies that the sheriff’s department seems to have going on. When people are rewarded with freedom in exchange for informing on someone else it’s like giving them a free ride to do the same old crap they were doing when they were arrested only to cost the taxpayers more money and grief.

Martens: Since I have been a deputy sheriff for nearly 25 years and the chief deputy sheriff for almost 14 years, I have already been trained to lead the sheriff’s office. Because of this, I will be able to concentrate quickly on the issue of communication between the Emmet County Sheriff’s Office and the Estherville Police Department. If elected sheriff, I plan to work with the leadership of the Estherville Police Department to repair this problem. If neccessary, I will take this issue next to the elected mayor of the City of Estherville to seek a solution.

Q: Has your opinion on countywide law enforcement wavered? Explain.

Haukoos: I still believe the countywide system needs to be studied. The taxpayers of Emmet County deserve to see if there is a more cost-effective way to provide law enforcement. Do we need the duplication and added expense of two tactical teams and two canine units?

The other way to achieve a countywide system is by training and working together. Each agency has its own responsibilities, staff, and area of jurisdiction. When an agency calls for help, all agencies will provide assistance. This plan has worked well for the Emmet County Ambulance and Fire services.

Jorgensen: No. What kind of law enforcement would it be if it wasn’t countywide?

Martens: No. Countywide law enforcement has been discussed for years. I have attended meetings in Emmet County about this. It is my goal as sheriff to maintain or increase the services the sheriff’s office provides to the citizens of Emmet County. With any new concept there are always advantages and disadvantages. These need to be evaluated carefully. I would welcome more discussion about this subject in the future but I will not favor any arrangement that would be detrimental to ANY of the citizens or that causes a loss of services to ANY of the citizens of Emmet County.

Q.: Do you continue to have the same opinion on issuing of permits for concealed weapons? Why?

Haukoos: I will issue concealed weapons permits to qualified individuals. Permits will not be handed out like Halloween candy. You must pay for and pass a federal background check. You must pay for and pass an approved gun safety class. You must pay for the permit. If there is a reason that I cannot issue you a permit, I will give you the reason in writing. If you misuse the privilege, I will revoke your concealed weapons permit.

Jorgensen: Yes . I’m thinking if a few more law-abiding citizens were carrying guns it would slow down a lot of stupidity.

People should not be able to tell if a person is carrying a concealed weapon. And if it’s not a law there should be a law to keep people from flaunting a weapon. Here’s Webster’s definition of conceal , — to hide or keep from observation or discovery . —- And for everyone that thinks concealed weapons are a bad thing check out — IowaCarry.org — . I do not think it should be up to one person who decides who can have a concealed weapon.

Martens: Yes. I am a gun owner and hunter and I am currently a 4-H leader where I teach shotgun shooting sports to the youth of Emmet County; however I do not believe that the general public has the need to go armed in public with a firearm on their person. I do not believe that a majority of our citizens would feel comfortable sitting next to a person who has no official identification and a handgun at their waist. I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable with that and I don’t think most people in Emmet County would either.

Q.: Do you consider any office expenditures unnecessary? Which ones?

Haukoos: Without being in the department it would be hard to know what expenditures are unnecessary. Before paying a bonus to the deputies who pass the voluntary physical training program or an annual membership fee to the Isaac Walton club. Worn out tires, ammunition should be provided so officers do not have to mix duty and training ammunition in order have full magazines, a full clothing allowance should be paid as needed, and car cameras and other safety equipment should be replace when necessary.

Jorgensen: I am not familiar with all the expenditures of the sheriff’s office at this time. Ask me again next February after I’ve been sheriff for a month.

Martens: I don’t feel there are any unnecessary expenditures within the office. I plan to be very cost conscious with the budget and spend only where necessary. The sheriff’s office has been involved in the use of grants and programs to obtain equipment in the past. Some equipment has been obtained from the U.S. military which has resulted in the saving of thousands of local tax dollars. Because of this, the sheriff’s office has been able to obtain some special equipment for the prevention of crime and the apprehension of criminals it would not have otherwise been able to afford.

Q: Will the sheriff’s office be restructured?

Haukoos: The restructuring of the sheriff’s office will have more to do with how we do business than anything else.

We will be proactive with the public.

When dealing with crimes or office business we will provide the public and news agencies with as much information as the law allows. We will follow the recommendations that state auditors and other inspectors give us in order to correct inspection discrepancies.

All equipment will be installed by a certified professional, not departmental staff.

We will create a preventive maintenance system that identifies equipment needs and replace them before they fail.

Jorgensen: No, The only thing that will change is the name on the door and the sheriff’s desk from Lamack to JORGENSEN.

Martens: No, I do not see any need to restructure the Sheriff’s office.

There will, however, be a need to replace my current position, which is chief deputy sheriff, if I am elected sheriff. There will be new responsibilities assigned to the current staff already in place. I believe that the employees all have something special to offer the organization and have ideas that may make their jobs more efficient. I will encourage the staff to explore those ideas. The staff knows that I am approachable and I will listen to their needs, concerns and ideas.