Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Response from James W. (Jim) Murphy, Candidate for Sheriff

1.    What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position?  What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position? 

The Sheriff serves the civil and criminal courts of the 22nd Judicial Circuit of the State of Missouri. As an officer of the courts, integrity and professionalism are of paramount concern. Further, as the head of a department with an authorized strength of 176 deputies, leadership, administrative ability and practical experience are integral to the successful execution of the duties of this office.

In the trying times in which we live, it is vital that law enforcement officials are trained and up to date in the latest strategies and techniques for countering potential threats posed by sources ranging from the common criminal to international terrorism.

As a critical component of the local law enforcement community, the Sheriff must coordinate his efforts with the Department of Corrections at both the state and city levels, the Circuit Attorney’s Office, U.S. Marshall’s Service, St. Louis Police Department, City Marshall and sheriffs’ offices throughout the state.

During my 23-year tenure as Sheriff, I have forged close relationships with fellow law enforcement professionals. I have served as President of the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association and presently sit on its board of Directors. I have been formally commended by the Missouri Police Chiefs’ Association and was voted Missouri Sheriff of the Year by my fellow sheriffs. Last year, I had the high honor of hosting the National Sheriffs’ Convention, which brought sheriffs from across the nation to the America’s Center in downtown St. Louis.

I have successfully completed training programs at the FBI National Academy in Quantico, VA, the Institute of Police Technology and Management, the Missouri Police Chiefs’ Association, the National Sheriffs’ Association for the Management of Law Enforcement Agencies, the St. Louis Police Academy and annually attend the Missouri Sheriffs Training Conference.

I am a graduate of Cleveland High School and attended St. Louis University.

2.    Why do you think you are the best person for this position?  What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

I feel that the experience and training outlined above argue well for my retention as Sheriff.

Both of my opponents are former deputies who served briefly with the St. Louis City Sheriff’s Department. Neither man has significant law enforcement experience outside of their short tenures with my office, nor have they performed supervisory or administrative duties. Each man’s training is limited to the basic recruit instruction given to all newly hired deputies.

3.    What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

In light of the city’s on-going budgetary shortfalls, it is difficult to recruit and retain qualified personnel. My deputies have not had an across-the-board pay raise or cost-of-living adjustment from the city in nearly four years. Further, financial constraints make up-to-date training and equipment problematic.

To address these issues, I have partnered with the staff at the St. Louis Police academy to provide basic recruit instruction as well as in-service training for veteran deputies. I have sent deputies to seminars conducted by the Missouri Sheriffs’ Association so they would be qualified to train their co-workers on the latest enforcement strategies and keep them aware of current intelligence findings.

I devoted fees collected from the issuance of concealed-carry licenses to purchase state-of-the-art Tasers to upgrade our non-lethal force arsenal. I also successfully lobbied the legislature to add a $10 surcharge to each summons issued by the Sheriff. Revenue from that fund enabled me to give each deputy a small pay raise this year.

These improvements were enacted without spending one additional taxpayer dollar.

4.    Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

When the St. Louis Police replaced its store of side arms, I petitioned the Board of Police Commissioners to donate surplus semi-automatic pistols to the Sheriff’s Office.

I work closely with the Director of Public Safety to facilitate inmate admission/release procedures at the Justice Center and Medium Security Institution (City Workhouse). I also collaborate with the city police to avoid costly redundancy in required prisoner transports throughout the state.

I am currently organizing corporate support to provide by deputies with new bullet-proof vests.

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