2016 Sheriff – The Candidates On Issues

sheriffvanNotes: 1. Mr. Matthews did not respond with answers to the Issues questions. Numerous emails were sent to him. He responded to each inquiry but not with answers to our questions. 2. We corrected obvious misspellings in candidate responses.

B1) Describe up to three changes you would make in the Sheriff’s Office and estimate how much it will cost or save money. (250 words or less)

Vernon Betts: The first change I would make is how people are hired, a no cost change. I would change how people are paid (pay scale) and there would be a cost increase. The last thing I would change is benefits and there would be an increase for this.

Johnnie Chester Sr.:  Bring strong trust with local, state official in city hall leadership. Put in place a Sheriff’s Dept  Board appointed by the Board of Aldermen or committee official, to served as a liaison board with update, day to day  operation, making improvement changes which will be a great impact on today safety. Put in place a reserve sheriff’s unit of twenty five members to assist in manpower within the department. Upon request of St Louis Police Dept to assist in limited duties, at no cost to taxpayer.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: Because the Sheriff’s Dept. has a $9,000,000 budget, a professional accountant should be employed. Have prisoner ward at one area hospital. I’m not sure of the exact cost, but would reduce all cost to the City of St. Louis in the long run. Create Diversity Deputy to reduce racial tensions in the Department.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: I would hire an outside consultant or a permanent retired police officer with knowledge of strategic planning. Cost about $60,000 to $80,000 depending on their experience. Safety of the jurors and the judges is important. I would also like to work on pay raises working with in the pay matrix. This could cost additional one to $3 million depending on years on duty. This would have to come by lobbying the state and the Board of Alderman as well as working with the judges to get this done.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Convert from manual base  to computer systems. Reevaluate the pay system. Make changes to the deployment of some units.

B2) Name a government office/agency you would like to see the Sheriff’s Office work closer with and describe how that collaboration would result in cost savings and/or better services and/or greater efficiency. (100 words or less)

Vernon Betts:  I would like the Sheriff office to work closer with the St. Louis Police Department – for a greater degree of training and there would be a cost increase for this.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: The reserve unit will assist in taken away over cost of c/the, at no cost to tax payer.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: The City Department of Corrections. Coordinate the pickup and drop-off of prisoners appearing to court.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: I would like to have a small group of deputies get post certified through the police department and work under the chief of police. I believe this could result in a cost savings for the police department. My thoughts are approximately 10 deputies. And I also believe that we have at least that many are retired police so there would be no additional cost in training.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Department of Corrections, no cost, just communicate with the superintendent.

B3) Name the current Sheriff’s greatest strength and biggest weakness. (100 words or less)

Vernon Betts: The current sheriff has no strengths and his biggest weakness is that he is manipulated by others.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: Sheriff Murphy’s strength is undermining his own department and no change. He allows his authority to be used by his aide to the sheriff Mike Guzzy. His weakness is no trust, no vision.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: Sheriff Murphy’s greatest strength is his integrity and bringing the Sheriff’s Dept. to the 21st Century. His weakness was his inability to communicate with the Judges on the daily operations of the office.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: He started out very well, and has become complacent over time.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: The current Sheriff has no strengths. Weakness is no leadership.

B4) Should the St. Louis City Circuit Court (22nd Judicial District) and St. Louis County Circuit Court (21st Judicial District) share one jury pool of city and county residents with jury services provided by one office? Explain. (75 words or less)

Vernon Betts: The two circuits should not share the same jury pool. It would be a extremely large and complicated jury pool to manage considering the number of cases both circuits have to handle.

Johnnie Chester Sr.:  No. I disagree with this kind of system. There are two types of life styles. One will not understand the other in a trial setting.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: Yes, to reduce the burden on city residents for jury duty.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: I think this would require the city and county to merge. I think you would have a hard time getting county people to come in and sit on juries. Although I believe this would increase the jury pool, I don’t see this happening

Charley “Big Will” Williams: No, because of the juror transportation cost.

B5) Should the St. Louis City Sheriff be an appointed rather than an elected position? Explain. If Yes, who should appoint- Judges, Mayor, Board of Aldermen President. If Yes, should this change require approval by St. Louis City voters?  (75 words or less)

Vernon Betts: No. It should not be an appointed position.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: Sheriff  position should always be elected  by the voters rather  than appointed due to political conflict of interest and political control.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: No, the Sheriff’s Dept. serves the people of St. Louis. So he should be elected by the citizens of St. Louis.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: No, believe no one other than the citizens should elect/appoint the sheriff.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Remain elected.

B6) Should the St. Louis City Sheriff’s Department be consolidated into the St. Louis City Police Department or Public Safety Department? Explain. If Yes, should this change require approval by St. Louis City voters?  (75 words or less)

Vernon Betts: No. It should not because police officers have to sometimes give testimony in courts and that would create bias situation if the Sheriff Deputy and Police were from the same entity.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: No. It should not be consolidated into the st. Louis City Police Department, but I can see how it could be helpful to assist public safety department without the city voters. But upon request,  at no cost to tax payer.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: No. The SLPD has its hands full with the current crime wave. We assist the Police in time of civil unrest and special events when request for help is needed.  We are not trained as Policeman.  The Police don’t know our procedures as we are responsible for court house protection and prisoner transportation.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: If that change were to take place, it would require a change in our charter. I would have mixed feelings either way.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: No.

B7) Should the City of St. Louis re-enter St. Louis County as a municipality and give up operating its own county offices and collecting/spending its own county revenue? Explain. If Yes, should this change require approval by St. Louis City and St. Louis County voters?  (75 words or less)

Vernon Betts: No. It should not re-enter St. Louis County. St. Louis County should become a part of St. Louis City.

Johnnie Chester Sr.:  No this office is not broken, we will always need a new direction (sheriff). With a vision and trust worthy, to upgrade  and improve.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: No. The city should not share our revenues with the County.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: I don’t believe the city should re-enter the county.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: This should be decided by the voters.

B8) Should St. Louis City retain the nonpartisan court plan in which the governor appoints circuit court judges or should voters elect circuit court judges? Explain. (75 words or less)

Vernon Betts: Yes. St. Louis City should retain non partisan court plan because voters don’t know enough about individual judges to make a wise decision on each judge. The time between filling  court appointments would be longer if we had to wait until it was time for public to vote.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: Voters should  always elect all  circuit Court judges, for trust worthy elect reason it is very clear that appointee position come with power of who know who or you are related to.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: They should be appointed by the Governor as the Sheriff is elected by the people.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: I do know the non-partisan plan is extremely partisan. I will have to say though that we do have the opportunity to unseat a judge by choosing not to retain them, so we have a little of both worlds the way it is now.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Remain appointed by Governor.

B9) If elected, would you enforce St. Louis City’s ban on smoking with regard to Sheriff’s Department vehicles? Yes or No.

Vernon Betts: Absolutely, yes.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: Yes. Ban on smoking, zero tolerance for  smoking on duty, no smoking breaks, it’s not a benefit.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: Yes.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: Yes.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Yes.

B10) If elected, will you enforce St. Louis City’s Residency Requirement with regard to Sheriff’s Office employees? Explain. (75 words or less)

Vernon Betts: No  – due to things like education – I would want the sheriff deputy to live where he felt best for his children’s education.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: Yes. I will enforce the city  residency requirement with regard to the sheriff office, but I will seek with the appointed board to adopt the same outside  residency rule the St. Louis Police Dept used.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: Yes. I agree to this rule.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: No. I believe we need to look for the best possible employees no matter where we look. I will also add, being patronage most likely they would come from recommendations from our neighborhood ward organizations.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Yes.

B11) Should Sheriff’s Office employees become Civil Service employees or remain patronage positions? Explain. If Yes, should this change require approval by St. Louis City voters?  (75 words or less)

Vernon Betts: They should remain patronage positions because it gives the Sheriff more input on the hiring practice.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: Well over due. I strongly  believe it should become Civil Service employment and approved by city voters.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: Yes. They should remain under the patronage system, as these are our jobs.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: Yes. They should remain patronage. I believe this gives us a chance to interact with other offices that are patronage. This also gives us the opportunity to help people throughout the city. I also think this will help us keep a diverse workforce.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Remain patronage.

B12) What changes, if any, do you support in the regulation of firearms at local, state, or federal level? (100 words or less)

Vernon Betts:  I would be for more restrictions on gun control.

Johnnie Chester Sr.:  I am a member of  NRA. I see no change at this time but I would like to hold each gun carrier accountable with liabilities  insurance.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: I support the 2nd Amendment, but I feel that the conceal carry permit should match the Mo. Driver’s License. The State of Missouri loses money, everytime someone gets an out of state permit.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: I have my conceal and carry. I believe a stronger background check and something to hold gun owners responsible could help. This would have to be addressed on the state level. It’s not a function of the sheriff’s department

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Background checks for purchase of shotguns and rifles.

B13) Describe your position on the Death Penalty. (100 words or less)

Vernon Betts: I  am a Christian and I believe in the death penalty.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: I will  always be against the  death penalty.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: If the crime meets the criteria for the death sentence, then I’m for it.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: I think that if there is enough evidence and if a jury recommends, we are obligated to carry it out.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: I concur with the death penalty if the person has been convicted beyond a reasonable doubt.

B14) Should marijuana be decriminalized, legalized, regulated, taxed, for medicinal purposes, for recreational purposes? Explain. (100 words or less)

Vernon Betts:  I believe it should be decriminalized and used for medical purposes only.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: Marijuana should be legalized, regulated, taxed for medical purpose only.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: Any changes in the laws for marijuana should be made by the voters of Missouri. Marijuana is so much stronger than in the past, it should be studied before laws are changed.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: I would only support it for medical purposes. I think with all the legal addiction problems that we are facing from overuse of prescription medicine to alcoholism, adding one more doesn’t help

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Yes, for for medical  and recreation, but the people should vote on this.

B15) If elected, name one specific state or local change in law/policy that you would champion. (100 words or less)

Vernon Betts: I would champion a better school system, policies concerning our school system.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: I will carry out my duty as sheriff, with trust and follow and enforce  all laws which applies to my office.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: Reduce the amount of bullets in a magazine to reduce the carnage of mass murders. Also restrict the sale of cop killer bullets that are so strong that they penetrate the present bullet proof vest.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: As an alderman, I’ve had the opportunity to work on many changes to the law. I’m not sure that there’s anyone that I would have in mind. I would certainly listen to and work within the political system to affect change if it makes sense

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Amend property tax to be included in the price of automobiles.

B16) Name one specific state or local change in law/policy that you believe the next Mayor of St. Louis should champion. (100 words or less)

Vernon Betts:  I think the next Mayor should be concerned about our school system.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: Unknown at this time. This office is not the one I am running for.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: Crime and education are the two most pressing issues.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: This is also a hard one to answer, things change and laws need to be updated.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: Youth programs.

B17) Black Lives Matter, All Lives Matter, Rather Not Say? Please Pick One. Not an Essay question.

Vernon Betts: Of course Black Lives Matter, but All Lives Matter in all reality.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: All lives matter.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: All lives matter.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: All lives matter.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: All lives matter.

B18) Describe a unique experience or relationship that you believe makes you the best candidate for Sheriff. (100 words or less)

Vernon Betts: Due to my unique ability to communicate with people at all levels, on two occasions the Judges called me to the court room to assist with communication with inmates.

Johnnie Chester Sr.: I am the #1 choice. Do your match and make a choice.

Kevin “Cap” Klupe: My lifelong connections with the St. Louis law community, affords me access to direct contact and access to law enforcement agencies in the Metro area. I will use the Missouri Sheriff’s Association lobbyist, like we did for the Statewide Deputy Sheriff’s Fund that increased the Deputies salaries by $46.00 biweekly. My intentions are to increase the service process by $5.00. If passed by Missouri Legislature, this could result in pay increases for St. Louis Sheriff’s Deputies only. That money will be used only for pay increases. This fund will be retained for future Sheriff’s budgets for deputy’s salaries only.

Jimmie Matthews: No Response

Joseph “Joe” Vaccaro: I ran my own business successfully for 36 years, so I have management skills. I was an Airport Commissioner. I sit on the Board of Aldermen and am vice chairman of Ways and Means/ Budget. I sit on Public Safety working with the police department on issues. I sit on Transportation dealing with Metro, the Airport, Port Authority. I sit on Parks and Environment. I have written many ordinances and I have a understanding of how to get things done through legislation. I’m also smart enough to surround myself with people that can fill in the blank’s where I am weak.

Charley “Big Will” Williams: My training and experience as a US Marshal Detention Enforcement Officer.