Crawford County Sheriff Bill Rutan is being challenged in his bid for re-election by Robinson City Police Officer Floyd Brinkman. The winner will server a four-year term as county sheriff.
Floyd Brinkman Jr.
Brinkman, 39, is running as a Democrat for sheriff.
He began his law enforcement career in 1998 as an auxiliary Deputy Sheriff serving under then-Sheriff Tom Weger.
Brinkman was hired by the City of Robinson in September - 2000 as a full-time police officer. Five years later, he was hired by Sheriff Todd Liston as a part-time deputy sheriff and he continues to serve the citizen of Robinson and Crawford County in these capacities. He has also served as a deputy coroner since 2005.
He is a life-long resident of Crawford County. Brinkman has three children: Megan, 19, Mason, 10, and Olivia, 9.
He said he saw a need for change and decided this was the time for him to run.
"If you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem," he said.
Brinkman said he was most concerned about the budget and personnel issues.
"If I'm elected, I will make sure the department stays within its budget and will eliminate wasteful overtime spending," Brinkman said. "I understand that things come up unexpectedly, but we need to make sure that we're spending the taxpayers money wisely."
Brinkman added that he sees a need for an up-to-date policy manual that clearly outlines the duties and responsibilities of each post ion in the department.
"I have worked part-time in the department since 2005 and have yet to see an up-to-date policy manual," he noted.
Brinkman said he would also eliminate expensive out-of-state training when the same training is available closer to home. "I've been to some of this training, and it's good training and it's valuable, but in most cases the same training would be available for less money, and closer, if we would just wait for a little bit."
Brinkman said he has also seen the need for a school resource deputy and would make that position one of his top priorities.
Rutan, 49, is the current Crawford County Sheriff.
Rutan worked as a Robinson police officer for more than 23 years before being elected sheriff in 2014. He has also worked as a part-time police officer in Oblong in 2002 and served as the interim chief of police in Robinson before a full-time chief was hired.
He has three children, including a daughter who is still living at home with him.
Rutan is a veteran and has been a member of the VFW Honor Guard since 1997. He has been involved with the Boy Scouts for more than 10 years in Robinson and is also a member of the Robinson Elks Lodge, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Flat Rock Masonic Lodge.
"Serving the public is my top priority. Whether it's handling an accident report, arresting a drug dealer or keeping dangerous people in jail," Rutan said.
Rutan said having the right personnel in place is necessary to complete any task. He said he has implemented a hiring process to bring in people with the right qualities to serve the people of Crawford County.
"I'm very proud of the vetting process we've put into place. We're hiring the best people for the job based on what they can do and on how good they could be. Not on who they know.
Rutan said he is aware of the criticisms of his budget, but said it's not as bad as it seems.
"You have to look at both sides of the balance sheet. At revenues and expenses. My department has received lots of grant money and lots of money from 911. Yes, I am over my budget, but we've had lots of supplemental income to offset that."
Rutan foresees a lower budget in the future, due in part to the scheduled retirement of older employees who currently earn a higher wage than their replacement would.
Among his proudest achievements during his time as Sheriff, Rutan says he has worked hard to get his department up-to-date equipment.
"I have been working the last three years in upgrading the equipment the Crawford County Sheriff's Office has to serve the community." Rutan said. "From vehicles, computers and cameras, and other essential equipment needed for the task. I also subscribe to the Government Surplus organization LESO, and I am in the process of obtaining equipment and vehicles for rescue situations."