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Sheriff Candidate: Cross-Training Officers Could See Overtime Savings

Bob Armstrong says debate on these and other issues needed

Letter as submitted by Bob Armstrong, Candidate for Ocean County Sheriff:

Supporters of my opponent for sheriff claim my proposal to cross-train sheriff’s and corrections officers isn’t realistic. Those claims simply reveal a lack of vision on the part of the sheriff and Ocean County’s entrenched leadership.

Right now county officers cannot fill in for each other when the need arises. As a result, the county paid sheriff and corrections officers $4 million for overtime in 2011. That expense could have been greatly reduced if qualified officers had been interchangeable.

With training at the Ocean County Police Academy in Lakewood (which some county authorities would like to close), those officers could provide mutual backup and more. Corrections officers, for example, could attain the status of sworn law enforcement officers, expanding Ocean County’s crime fighting and emergency response capability, especially under a re-energized sheriff’s department.

Would it be easy?

Of course not.

Cross training would require a change in the culture of both groups, not to mention approval of the Police Training Commission in the New Jersey Department of Criminal Justice. Rules such as age limits might still apply. Since cross training would be voluntary, we would have to provide incentives to those officers who elect to take part. But reduced overtime would more than pay for those incentives, and the greater public benefit would be a more versatile and nimble security resource for Ocean County.

It would be easier to accomplish if corrections were returned to the Department of the Sheriff where it belongs, of course, but a program could still succeed within the current administrative structure. 

I would very much like the opportunity to debate this publicly with Mr. Polhemus, but he is nowhere to be seen or heard on this or any other issues.

Bob Armstrong
Candidate for Ocean County Sheriff

Danny September 15, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Sounds like an idea worth looking into. As a long time Republican I can say 100% that there is no way I am voting for the incumbent. His only desire is to be able to go in the history books as the longest serving Sheriff. Not a good reason to run. He can not fullfil his duties now, think about two to three years down the road. Time for a fresh person with new and good ideas. The republican party blew it by allowing Polhemus to run again. They had many much more qualified people who actually deserve a chance, but once again, they took care of an old school member at the expense of the voters and residents of Ocean County. Politics at its worst.
JOHNNY Done it September 16, 2012 at 03:15 PM
AGREED

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