The following five Q&A candidates are running for the position of Sheriff in Camden County. They will be present on the August 4 ballot.

The following five Q&A candidates are running for the position of Sheriff in Camden County. They will be present on the August 4 ballot.

Sheriff Tony Helms

Hi, I’m Tony Helms and I am your Camden County Sheriff. I have over 30 years of law enforcement experience at the Camden County Sheriff’s Department. I have been your Camden County Sheriff since 2017. I am married with six children, and I am a Christian. I am personally and professionally a supporter of the Second Amendment and protecting the rights of the people of Camden County. I am a lifetime member of the NRA. The bedrock of my law enforcement philosophy is community policing. It promotes trust among those we serve and protect. Going forward, my number-one priority is to increase deputy pay, increase community policing, and continue to keep Camden County safe.

1) Law enforcement and E-911 are a significant part of county operations and services including main budget areas. In your opinion, what should be the spending priorities for law enforcement? If things must be cut, what comes first?

The number one spending priority is paying my deputies a livable wage. My average deputy makes $13.75/hour which is much less than any deputies in mid Missouri. I hire quality people only to lose them to adjoining agencies paying more an hour. I have already eliminated positions to give small pay raises to my deputies, but it is not even close to where we need to be. When it comes to deciding on cuts, it’s a difficult thing. Our budget is already tight and at minimal staffing. I believe cutting my equipment budget would be my first cut. We have made big strides in updating vehicle equipment over the last three years for the sheriff’s office therefore, cutting maintenance costs by 35-45%. We could eliminate some equipment, but it would eventually put us back to where we were when I took over in 2017. We had an aging fleet of patrol units with an average mileage of 150,000 on each. Now our average mileage is under 75,000 and we have been able to rotate vehicles out to lower maintenance costs. Cutting equipment would be a way to not effect my manpower that I desperately need to keep Camden County Safe.

2) Why are you the best person for Sheriff of Camden County?

I am your Camden County Sheriff. I have experiences that none of the current candidates have. I have over three decades of law enforcement experience at the sheriff’s office. I have worked for three different sheriffs and have been in a leadership role for two of those administrations. I have been successful in traversing through hard times in the last three and a half years, more specifically during the last 6 months of the COVID pandemic. When I was elected as your sheriff, I made promises of being a community-oriented sheriff’s office and I did. I brought Community Resource Deputies to the outlying areas of the county where deputies were scarce. I deployed the first ever School Resource officers to Stoutland, Mack’s Creek, and Hurricane Deck schools. In 2020 I was able to get a grant to fund those officers to take the financial burden off taxpayers and the schools. I have brought in over a million dollars in grants to fund these various projects and provide better equipment to my office. I have a proven record of success and that makes me the best person for the job. Promises made and promises kept.

3) What do you view as the strengths of the Camden County Sheriff's Office and what areas need improvement, in any? How would you address those areas if elected?

One of the biggest strengths of my sheriff’s office is the people. We have some of the best deputies/employees in Mid Missouri. I defy anyone that says our people are not dedicated. Our deputies go to calls and put their lives in danger for $13.75/hour. I have worked hard in keeping quality deputies at our agency. Keeping our deputies trained and safe is one of my biggest concerns. We keep our deputies trained in the latest standards. Our deputies are trained in the Crisis Intervention Training, de-escalation techniques, specialties and much more. One of the biggest weakness of our office is the pay. It is imperative we work with the commission and elected officials to find a solution to getting our deputies a livable wage. I have cut positions to bring most deputies off the deputy supplemental fund. This is the first step in softening the financial load to the county. The next step is working with our commission to find more funding sources to get our deputies paid more. We hire good deputies, train them only to lose them to better paying agencies. This is a huge financial toll on our budget and something better pay could eliminate.

4) Recently, Camden County received national media attention for the lack of social distancing due to COVID-19 and the opposing views to law enforcement’s role. As Sheriff, how would you have handled this situation?

I have done this, handled this, and would handle it the same way again. I will stand up for the constitutional rights of the great citizens of Camden County. You must educate the people and give them the opportunity to be responsible for their own actions. Camden County citizens are good folks. The most important thing you must do is take a stance. Let the citizens know you will protect their constitutional rights and ensure they are protected. Protect their rights and the rights of the business owners of Camden County as well.

5) Racial division has been at the forefront in recent weeks. What diversity and inclusion efforts need to be done in Camden County?

We are lucky to be one of the most culturally diverse counties in Missouri. We have visitors worldwide that vacation at our great lake. We also have a diverse social economic level at the lake. A deputy can go to a call at a million-dollar home or a house with a dirt floor in it. This includes the disparity rate of different races and cultures that are here. Our deputies not only receive the mandatory racial profiling training, but we expound upon this with implicit bias training, cultural completeness training and anti-racial profile training. We encourage our deputies to treat people with kindness and fair treatment while respecting cultural boundaries. We also have policy and procedures to ensure our citizens and visitors are respected and treated fairly.

6) Closing statement

For the last several weeks I have listened to what the candidates want to do if elected. Let me tell you what I have done since being elected in 2017. I have established strong community policing programs in Camden County as promised. I have re-introduced deputies into the outlying areas as promised. I established a first ever domestic violence investigator to tackle the domestic violence problem as promised. We established citizen review boards to help with operations. I have introduced first ever school resource officers to the outlying schools. I have brought in over one million dollars in grant money to ease our county budget. We Implemented body cameras for deputies for August 2020. I implemented animal control ordinances and helped create free microchipping and rabies vaccine for Camden County residents and many other things. On August 4th Please vote to Re-Elect Tony Helms and continue to keep promises made.

Jerry Peters

I have been married over 40 years and my wife works for Richland School District. We are devout Christians, have two grown children and two granddaughters. I have served as a United States Marshal and as a local Police Officer in the lake area. I also served tours in Afghanistan through the Department of Defense and Department of State. I have also served as a Church Pastor, Chaplain and as an Operations Manager in our family business. These positions have given me the experience and training needed to successfully lead the Sheriff’s Office. Experience that includes oversight and operation of a $248 million per year budget for Police training and development. A program with more than 400 employees, training more than 12,000 Officers. My team and I will bring a new sense of professionalism and develop a department that provides the service and security that you and the community deserve.

1) Law enforcement and E-911 are a significant part of county operations and services including main budget areas. In your opinion, what should be the spending priorities for law enforcement? If things must be cut, what comes first?

E-911 and other programs within the department are essential and are not the place to begin budget cuts. One area that needs significant trimming is the upper management team. The current Sheriff surrounded himself with friends and actually “fabricated” a position that never existed before to the person who helped him run his last campaign. A move that cost the County an annual salary of more than $50,000. We do not need more managers, we need more working Deputies on the street where they can serve the community. This will provide more continuous coverage in outlying areas where needed. In addition, we will stop unnecessary purchases, like $16,000 for cowboy hats because we liked them on a TV show. We will also stop buying side-by-side ATV’s so the Sheriff can ride around during public events. This is just the tip of the iceberg related to poor spending practices. The current Sheriff says he can’t hire people because the money is not in the budget. But there are two main reasons he doesn’t have the money. One: He spends what he gets frivolously and Two: His track record proves he can’t be trusted to properly spend the money he gets.

2) Why are you the best person for Sheriff of Camden County?

Here are some tangible reasons why I am the best person for the office of Sheriff. My experience alone shows that I have accomplished things that none of the other candidates can equal. In addition, I have proven my concern for law enforcement and the safety of our communities, by founding and managing a non-profit for over 20 years. Our organization is focused on dealing with crisis events and critical incident stress management. Issues that today have become prevalent in our first responder community and in the public. Without proper training, our law enforcement officers and our communities are on a path to destruction. Therefore, it is going to take a level head, some fast thinking and solid experience to maintain a safe environment while still protecting the inalienable and constitutional rights of the people. My record in the positions I have held also proves that I am a committed and caring individual. Those who know me and have worked by my side will attest to the fact that I am compassionate and understanding when needed. However, when decisions need to be made I am concise and fair in my efforts.

3) What do you view as the strengths of the Camden County Sheriff's Office and what areas need improvement, in any? How would you address those areas if elected?

The greatest asset of any group is its people. I have worked with and personally know many of the Camden County Sheriff’s Department staff and we have a great group of hard working and devoted men and women. One of the areas that needs improvement is internal morale. Poor management has caused great conflict and unrest within the department. This has made a stressful job even more stressful for the staff, due to constant bickering and power struggles within the office. This creates additional stress and undermines the overall operation, thereby creating additional risk to the community. Another area is the ongoing training of departmental personnel. An officer has limited training when they begin their career. Therefore, it is essential to have a training program that provides mentors and qualified instructors that can help make them the best Officers they can be. Finally, we need a stronger connection with the Prosecutor and the Courts, so that we can better combat the drug and alcohol issues in the County. I want to help develop more outside programs that can assist the offenders in combating these issues that control their lives.

4) Recently, Camden County received national media attention for the lack of social distancing due to COVID-19 and the opposing views to law enforcement’s role. As Sheriff, how would you have handled this situation?

The best answer given previously on this question, was to not make a statement to the media at all. In my experience with national media I have found them to be self-serving and agenda driven. Much of what is said to them will be misconstrued and used to tear down your department, your community and law enforcement in general. Their basic goal is to create fear and embellish the facts, so that they can gain a greater following. If I was to engage their questions, I would deal simply with the facts. I would explain that as the Sheriff I am bound by my oath to uphold the laws of the land. However, those laws wherever they were fashioned would have to align with the basic structure of the Constitution and its guidelines. Thereby allowing the people the freedoms they deserve, while at the same time protecting our constituents as much as it is up to me and the authority of my office as Sheriff. Our laws are by the people and for the people and nothing can override the Constitution of the United States. Doing so makes a law “Un-Constitutional” and thereby unenforceable.

5) Racial division has been at the forefront in recent weeks. What diversity and inclusion efforts need to be done in Camden County?

Throughout my 27+ years of service, I have worked alongside people that had a different religion than mine came from a different ethnic background than me and were raised in nations not my own. In each case I have looked at them as my partner, or brother and sister in arms. I believe that equality of any kind should be practiced, especially when it comes to governmental offices such as City, County, State and Federal entities. As Sheriff, I would be sure that our department followed an all inclusive guideline. If a person has the training and capability to hold any position in the department, then that persons qualifications will be looked at just like any other person that applies to work there. In the end, I will not discriminate for any reason against any person. However, I also will not hire a person just because they fit some specific category. The Sheriff’s department needs qualified professionals to fill its positions, so that the people of the County and the general public are getting the best service they can get, by the most qualified people available.

6) Closing statement

I am seeking the office of Sheriff because I was asked to do so. When I moved here local people who had known me for years began asking me to run for Sheriff. Friends, businessmen and local leaders, started telling me of the issues at the department. As I investigated those issues I found out the allegations were true and realized that the problems were even deeper than originally suspected. Therefore, I am running for Sheriff to fix these problems. Second, I was always taught to do the right thing and the right thing to do is make the Sheriff’s office a better place to work. This not only allows staff to have satisfying careers, but also brings a greater level of security to the lake area and the communities of Camden County. I am asking for your vote on August 4th. May God richly bless you and your family.

Mark Kordula

I am 41 years of age and moved to Camden County from Southern California in 2009. I graduated from Law-Enforcement Technical Institute at MIZZOU and began my career in law enforcement in Camden County in 2011. During my time at the Sheriff’s Office, I have been a part of several specialized units. I have been in investigations for over 5 years and have worked and solved hundreds of cases in Camden County. Not only have I worked high profile cases in Camden County but I have also worked & solved high profile cases in Dallas & Pulaski Counties. In 2017 I received the Distinguished Service Medal and a Letter of Commendation for demonstrating my capabilities as a detective with outstanding professional stature. I am committed to making a difference, delivering measurable results, and maintaining a relationship of mutual respect and understanding with the citizens of Camden County.

1) Law enforcement and E-911 are a significant part of county operations and services including main budget areas. In your opinion, what should be the spending priorities for law enforcement? If things must be cut, what comes first?

We have to set up a pay scale so the employees have something to strive for. We are class one county (St. Louis is a class one county) making less than most class 3 counties in MO. It is unacceptable for a secretary with 2-3 years of experience to make more than a deputy of 12-years. It is time to compensate the men and women of the sheriff’s office with proper pay and develop a proper pay scale. There’s nothing I would cut in the budget, our budget has been cut several times over the years. The county's revenue goes up, but the Sheriff’s Office budget stays the same. Or decreases. Our budget needs to be increased just like most things as prices and cost of living each year.

2) Why are you the best person for Sheriff of Camden County?

I’ll be a working sheriff, available to the citizens of the county. I will lead from the front with integrity, ethics, and actions. Not only do I love what I do, but I also know what I’m doing. I want to continue being fully committed to helping and serving the citizens of Camden County. I’m the only candidate  who has worked hundreds of cases In this county. As the only candidate who has worked for CCSO (besides Helms) I Have first hand knowledge what needs to be fixed and what hasn’t worked i the past. As a candidate that has worked under two different administrations, I believe I am the person who will bring back morale and retain deputies.

3) What do you view as the strengths of the Camden County Sheriff's Office and what areas need improvement, in any? How would you address those areas if elected?

The strength of the Sheriff’s Office is the employees of the Sheriff’s Office, the citizens and agencies like Lake Regional Health System‘s nurses and doctors, Kids Harbor’s advocates, Citizens Against Domestic Violence personnel, Children’s Division’s investigators along with the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. It takes everyone I just listed to solve crimes and keep Camden County safe. Now what needs fixed is the relationship between all the people I listed. The agencies have to meet together to make sure everyone’s on the same page. The citizens have to trust the deputies. The way to do that is to be in the community not just when stuff goes wrong. The deputies have to be there to talk with the youth in the community and let the citizens get to know them outside of emergency calls.

4) Recently, Camden County received national media attention for the lack of social distancing due to COVID-19 and the opposing views to law enforcement’s role. As Sheriff, how would you have handled this situation?

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, any law or mandate they contradict the United States Constitution I will not enforce. Each person in this county has the right to wear a mask or to not wear a mask. Every business in this county has the right to refuse service. While working security at Lake Regional I was able to get information that I don’t feel was distributed to the citizens. The Sheriff’s Office should have provided more information when COVID-19 first began in Camden County. There was a lack of consistency. Not everyone was on the same page which created frustration and panic on different levels.

5) Racial division has been at the forefront in recent weeks. What diversity and inclusion efforts need to be done in Camden County?

I can tell you that the men and women of the Camden County sheriff‘s office have not displayed racial division in the community around me. The men and women I served with have treated everybody the same regardless of race, religion, stature, or sexual orientation. However, if it has or it does present itself that a deputy has violated someone’s civil rights or acted in a racial or prejudice nature, I would suspend that deputy(s). I would also utilize the citizen's disciplinary review board to go over the incident and come up with proper disciplinary action.

6) Closing statement

I hope to be your choice for Camden County Sheriff next Tuesday, August 4th! I promise to be a working sheriff, with an open door policy and to be out in the community with the citizens. I have worked and solved hundreds of cases in this county and my goal is to help other employees and deputies grow so they can better serve our county. My promise is to work for YOU the citizens of Camden County, the personnel and the agencies we work with. I wish I had more time to provide in depth answers to these questions. Please call me if you like to speak to me directly or visit www.kordula4sheriff.com

Kelly Lowe

With a background history of direct experience in the Law Enforcement arena, my performances in community and interactions with citizenry over the years has allowed me to develop a well-refined understanding of policing in all aspects public safety and services. My commitment and dedication throughout the duration of my career continues and has propelled me into a variety of leadership roles and ranks with administrative responsibilities; allowing me to establish a comprehensive, yet strategic ability in adapting to efficient and effective business structure and quality services to those we are under oath to serve. I come well versed and readily prepared to orchestrate the sheriff’s organization into a “community first” approach through transparency, while prioritizing personnel resources, equipment needs and upgrades, communications technology and budgetary expenditures. Please visit my web page at www.kellyloweforsheriff.com to learn more. I thank you in advance as I ask for your vote on August 4th.

1) Law enforcement and E-911 are a significant part of county operations and services including main budget areas. In your opinion, what should be the spending priorities for law enforcement? If things must be cut, what comes first?

Serving roles in administration and tasked with the trust and responsibilities directly involved in planning, implementing and overseeing budgets, I have come to know law enforcement encompasses many branches of spending priorities. In my opinion, the priorities of the Camden County Sheriff’s Organization must focus first and foremost, on personnel recruitment and retention. This, followed by advanced training and certification in direct relation to the demand for enhanced interactions and outcomes with citizens experiencing victimization, crisis and addiction, to include best practices for resolving division, diversity and cultural disparities. As for equipment needs, it would be impossible to procure in a single purchase the communications and enhanced 911 upgrades needed, or all of the current tools and technology needed within each respective division. It would be my objective to identify long term tangible and compatibility upgrades and purchases, in collaboration with available grants, to continuously increase and upgrade capabilities and technology through phased budgeting processes. If “cuts” must be made, such would start with non-essential expenditures, restructuring of organizational positions and eliminating unnecessary contractual agreements that may currently exist. I would further employ the Adapt, Improvise and Overcome philosophy, to provide public the safety Camden County is deserving of having.

2) Why are you the best person for Sheriff of Camden County?

Regardless of who you are, what you do, or what you have achieved; I have learned in life, there is always someone who’s better. I cannot knowingly claim to be the “best” person for sheriff, but I do offer that I am the, “best choice” for Sheriff of Camden County over the four opponents I am up against. I am the newest resident of Camden County. With that, I bring new visions, fresh ideas and the same passions which has propelled my career and which I will use in fostering what Camden County wants in their Sheriff’s Organization. It is going to be the choice of the citizens who exercise their right to vote on August 4th, in determining who the “best” person for Sheriff is or will be. I have many years of direct experience in law enforcement and believe no other candidate is more prepared to serve the needs of the people better than I, when it comes to experience, innovation and leadership. I encourage all citizens to explore my web page at, www.kellyloweforsheriff.com where my qualifications for the position of Sheriff and the vast and unparalleled history of my successes and achievements are defined and fully detailed.

3) What do you view as the strengths of the Camden County Sheriff's Office and what areas need improvement, in any? How would you address those areas if elected?

Strength is the men and women who serve relentlessly in their commitment to provide public safety services to the citizens of Camden County despite the setbacks commonly experienced within many agencies to include outdated policies and procedures, back then traditional practices and autocratic leadership. One of the most needed improvements is defining our mission and how it will be accomplished. As stated early on in my campaign, if elected sheriff, I will bring that vision to fruition through an innovative and dynamic collaboration of unity amongst us. We will establish a renewed mission statement supported by six core values, a sense of selflessness and a supportive democratic leadership from the top down in all management positions. Those core values are; “Respect Life, Revere the Truth, Enforce the Law, Seek Community Partnership, Honor our Police Powers and Conduct Ourselves with Dignity”. Furthermore, and as an organization, we will explore and embrace training designed to equip our personalities, influences and actions to align with (CIT) Crisis Intervention Team protocols, (SART) Sexual Assault Response Teams responsibilities, and (CADV) Citizens Against Domestic Violence resources. These programs require continuous training and are proven dynamics in serving citizens, veterans, victims, addicts, and those in mental crisis. 

4) Recently, Camden County received national media attention for the lack of social distancing due to COVID-19 and the opposing views to law enforcement’s role. As Sheriff, how would you have handled this situation?

Yes, there is a conscious concern of coronavirus which includes the spread and infectious potential. Reasonable protective measures should always be taken. I respectfully challenge that each person or guardian thereof, has the right to decide what reasonableness applies to them. All who take extreme measures should not be judged any different from those who invoke the least protective measures, even if none at all. We should, as a people, respect the rights of every individual and every business as they deem appropriate under the circumstances and save ridicule for the liberal government who continues to skew the statistics and the media who embarks on such propaganda for political interests. The Declaration of Independence clearly established in 1776; “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.” Some have chosen to alter it while many others abolish it. As your Sheriff being interviewed, I would have declared opposition based upon Camden County statistics and would have denounced the enforcement of social distancing and mask wearing. In fact most law enforcement encounters and interactions with the public would require the exact opposite. Am I being hypocritical?

5) Racial division has been at the forefront in recent weeks. What diversity and inclusion efforts need to be done in Camden County?

As time passes, it seems so does the problem, right on to the next Sheriff taking office. As stated in the question, we are again at the forefront of racial division. It is important to know that I do not have the immediate answer and resolution to satisfy these problems if elected. I have and will continue to engage in research, attended available training in best practices to reducing diversity and rely on previous training and personal success experiences; as a start in conceding there is a desperate need to establish a plan of action, by identifying and setting goals towards balancing diversity and inclusion. If elected Sheriff, all personnel will receive more thorough training beyond the mandates required by State law. It will be my objective to recruit and encourage minority applicants, while also establishing a greater interaction with minority citizenry by establishing a “Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board,” aimed at identifying specific barriers impacting Camden County, collaborating in ideals and decisions to implement a broader spectrum of resolve and to adopt policies governing best practices which will meet or exceed current and continuing reforms that are sure to come before the Missouri legislative sessions in the near future.

6) Closing statement

My name is Kelly Lowe and I aspire to be your Camden County Sheriff. My quest is derived through my passion of serving people and the commitment to excellence I have based my career upon. I possess the education, training and experience to serve as your leading law enforcement executive and will work continuously with these same ambitions to provide “Innovative Leadership that can build an even better, ever stronger, more successful Sheriff’s Office serving all of Camden County.” I may be the newest Camden County candidate, but I assure you, I will bring fresh ideas and opportunities to the men and women serving at your pleasure. My campaign has been successful and fully self-funded without requests or acceptance of any monetary donations from individuals or entities. If elected, I will come into office unequivocally intent on serving the citizens of Camden County. Please vote KELLY LOWE on August 4th.

Chris Edgar 

When it comes to skills and experience, I have over a decade of direct work in Camden County within various realms of law enforcement. I have previously worked as a detective and chief of operations/investigations for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. I was assigned to the detective unit with the Camden County Sheriff’s Office. I am currently an officer for the Camdenton Police Department. I am also a law enforcement instructor for both Missouri State University and Camdenton School District's Lake Career & Technical Center. My passion is not only in upholding the Constitution but also in educating and training law enforcement employees. It is both my experience in a number of different roles in the field of law enforcement as well as my passion to continue to teach and learn that have prepared me to be your sheriff. I can fully understand the perspective of each member of the team and utilize individual strengths.

1) Law enforcement and E-911 are a significant part of county operations and services including main budget areas. In your opinion, what should be the spending priorities for law enforcement? If things must be cut, what comes first?

This question is difficult to answer without knowing the priorities of spending within the department due to the lack of transparency within the budget. My plan would be to have open transparency with the citizens. This way, an Advisory Board (made up of citizens within the county) would have input on where money is being spent and how to address specific needs.  As Sheriff, I would do everything I can to keep from having to be in the position to make those cuts by having a solid budget. I plan to look at areas that can be trimmed to get the deputies more pay. If I were forced to make cuts, I would consider the equipment that we could possibly retain, instead of buying new equipment and look at all avenues for grant monies to help offset costs. My plan would be for deputies to be assigned to specific areas to help manage the cost of fuel. Also, spending priorities must be to retain our qualified employees. Much money is lost through the training and advancement of employees who ultimately leave the department. Most importantly, I would never make cuts that would affect the citizens’ safety and security. 

2) Why are you the best person for Sheriff of Camden County?

As your Sheriff, my life, integrity, vision, and purpose will remain steadfast and be geared toward the safety of the citizens of Camden County and the professionalism of the men and women of the Camden County Sheriff’s Department. My dedication will never waver and I will always put the community first. I believe I can excel our county sheriff department from its current state, making it more proactive in crime fighting, and developing stronger relationships with the community to help prevent and solve crime. Integrity, innovation, and involvement; these words have been used throughout my life. By working together we can enhance our current programs and make them more proficient. I will be taking a more aggressive stance on our county opioid and drug epidemic. I believe the sheriff should take a leadership role in the community when issues like this come to the forefront, not wait until the problem grows out of control. I seek progression and change through proactive law enforcement. People should expect more; status quo is not enough.

3) What do you view as the strengths of the Camden County Sheriff's Office and what areas need improvement, in any? How would you address those areas if elected?

Our strength is within our community. The incredible men and women who work at the Sheriff’s Office, along with our amazing community is what makes this a great place to work and live.  Three key areas that need improvement are:  1. Increasing training for deputies and correction officers with in-house training and teaming with Missouri State University Public Safety Division. This will help bring training costs down, while giving the deputies and correction officers up-to-date and advanced  training. I will implement extensive background checks for all employees and ensure employees are highly vetted. I will make certain that all highered employees are of high integrity and good moral character.  2. I plan to have a more visible presence in the community, visible to not only the public but also to the road and correction deputies. I will be a working sheriff, in the car, taking citizen complaints, and out in the public eye.   3. I will also incorporate open meetings with the public to address concerns of the people of Camden County. These meetings will be held around the county to meet all community needs. Building better partnerships with the community will play a vital role in moving our Sheriff’s Department forward.

4) Recently, Camden County received national media attention for the lack of social distancing due to COVID-19 and the opposing views to law enforcement’s role. As Sheriff, how would you have handled this situation?

As a Law Enforcement officer, I have taken an oath to uphold the Constitution for our citizens and I will always protect your Constitutional rights. For the Sheriff’s Office to enforce any actions, it has to be a law that has been voted on and passed through state legislatures to become state law. This process is why it is important for our citizens to be educated on current and upcoming laws to voice their opinions to their state legislators. The lack of practicing social distancing is not a law violation, which is why it would require state legislators to vote on it and it would have to be passed to become a law. We want our community’s voice to be heard. This is why transparency with the Sheriff's Office is important, so that there is clear communication to the community about any concerns with current or upcoming laws.

5) Racial division has been at the forefront in recent weeks. What diversity and inclusion efforts need to be done in Camden County?

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are essential to Law Enforcement operations and effectiveness. Some areas of improvement are training of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Also, recruiting deputies with different backgrounds, experiences, demographics, and perspectives will enrich department culture and community needs. Community policing should reach all areas within the community that include all socioeconomic backgrounds and build trust between the deputies and the community they serve. Our community’s needs are changing. We therefore cannot do things the same way we have always done. Moving the Sheriff’s Office into the 21st Century is not only pertinent to the department, but it is also a critical foundation for the growth of our community. Together, we can move forward for the betterment of Camden County.

6) Closing statement

When elected Sheriff, my life, integrity, vision, and purpose will remain steadfast and be geared toward the safety of the citizens of Camden County and the professionalism of the men and women of Camden County Sheriff’s Department. I am Chris Edgar and I want to be your working sheriff! Please reach out to me if you would like more information or visit www.chrisedgarforsheriff.com and my facebook page: Chris Edgar For Camden County Sheriff.  I respectfully ask for your vote on August 4th.