On Aug. 5, voters in Camden County will select a prosecuting attorney. Three candidates, incumbent Brian Keedy, Cole Bradbury and Michael Gilley will square off in the Republican primary.
On Aug. 5, voters in Camden County will select a prosecuting attorney. Three candidates, incumbent Brian Keedy, Cole Bradbury and Michael Gilley will square off in the Republican primary. Here, the candidates address their priorities for the position and working a busy summer case load. Responses are published in the order they were received.
1. What will your priorities be in the office of Prosecuting Attorney, if elected?
Bradbury: First and foremost is keeping our community safe. That means targeting violent crime, drug dealers and manufacturers, and sexual predators. I will oppose lenience for these offenders to make clear that these crimes will not be tolerated.
Second is protecting our local economy by prosecuting fraud, theft, and bad checks. These crimes threaten our local businesses and economy. We also need to protect our citizens who are victims of fraud by aggressively pursuing scammers and the like.
My final priority is putting crime victims first. Even though cases are labeled State vs. Defendant, my office will prioritize victims' rights and best interests in crafting sentences for criminals and move cases quickly to get victims the justice they deserve.
Keedy: Priorities, in terms of prosecuting crimes, will remain the same. Cases that get the quickest and most attention are cases posing the most immediate and serious risk to life. In Camden County those are domestic assaults, child abuse, drunk driving and boating, and drug abuse of both illicit and prescription drugs.
In terms of managing the prosecutor’s office, the challenge has been to effectively manage the caseload with less money from the county commission. Much has been done to improve efficiencies within the office but what can be done has been done.
The priority will be to do more to protect citizens at risk. That simply cannot be accomplished by doing the same with less. Commissioner Franken has indicated that the county is in the best financial condition in its history. My first priority will be to convince the commissioners to make law enforcement through the prosecutor’s office their priority.
Gilley: My main priority will be to seek justice for the citizens and guests of Camden County. As your prosecutor, I will be accountable to you, the citizens, and the law as a minister of justice to guard your interests. My goal is to ensure that such justice is achieved fairly, effectively and efficiently through my advocacy on your behalf. I intend to focus on dangerous offenders, offenders against children and families, and serious drug offenders. As a native of Camden County, I understand that this is a great place in which to live, work and raise a family. Therefore, I take great pride in being able to have the opportunity to serve to keep Camden County a wonderful place to live.
2. Camden County has a population of 44,000...but for five months a year, we have a population closer to 150,000 and we have the attendant crime with that increase. The criminal caseload in Camden County is pretty big compared to other counties our size, how do you recommend we balance that and continue to more with less?
Bradbury: The Prosecuting Attorney's Office needs to prioritize its resources from the most serious crimes to the least. That means handling minor cases like speeding tickets quickly and with minimal Court or prosecutor time involved. By reducing the resources required to handle minor cases, more of the office's time can be devoted to preparing cases against murderers, rapists, child molesters, and other truly evil people who deserve no special plea bargain. Those crimes threaten our way of life and cannot be tolerated.
As a conservative Republican, I will not blame the budget for my Prosecuting Attorney's Office's struggles. Times are tough everywhere, and ordinary citizens and government alike must tighten their belts when resources are short. I will make sure the resources we have are being spent in the most efficient way possible.
Keedy: Law enforcement agencies in Camden County operate168 hours a week. Arrests are made at all hours. The prosecutor’s office is staffed 35 hours a week less holidays. The other 113 hours prosecutors work without support staff and have to be secretary, investigator, victim/witness coordinator and prosecutor all at the same time. Quality suffers.
One half of all cases referred for prosecution to the Camden County prosecutor’s office from law enforcement are received from June through September each year.
I have consistently presented proposals to the county commission to address these challenges. I have requested funding to go to a 40 hour work week OR operate 7 days a week including holidays OR hire seasonal staff OR hire a victim/witness coordinator OR to hire an investigator. The requests have consistently been denied. I recommend making law enforcement through the prosecutor’s office a higher county priority. It will be money well spent.
Gilley: First, it is great to live in such a great area that others find so desirable to visit. However, with the increase in what I call the "true" population of Camden County, I understand that the criminal caseload will be higher. To balance this, the prosecutor's office must be efficient in disposing of misdemeanor cases involving non-dangerous offenders. This may involve the use of plea bargains for such cases. In order to maintain an efficient system as prosecutor, I will work with non-dangerous offenders and their counsel to reach a fair and equitable resolution to their case swiftly in such a way that maintains my commitment to justice for the victims and citizens of Camden County.