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Learn more about the candidates for Osage County

Learn more about the candidates for Osage County

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Osage County Sheriff

Rocky Davis

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Davis

What made you decide to run for Sheriff? Being the Sheriff of Osage County is something I have been thinking about for many years. What better way to end a career than as the Sheriff of the County you grew up in and also spent over 30 years as a police officer in.

What are your qualifications? I have been a police officer for over 30 years, most of which I was on patrol but from 2003 to 2011 I was assigned to the Skiatook Schools as the School Resource Officer. As the resource officer I was DARE instructor and also a mentor to many of the students. I also assisted school administration with everyday issues in the school district.

What do you hope to accomplish as Sheriff? My hope is that with my leadership we can regain the trust and respect between law enforcement and our communities. I believe we can do this with stepping up community policing.

What do you think needs to change? Becoming more involved with the communities we serve. By that statement I mean it is time to get out of our patrol vehicles and converse with the public and not just on traffic stops. Get out there and talk to the people that is where we need to be.

Eddie Virden

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Virden

Why have you decided to run for re-election? I believe since I was elected Osage County Sheriff overall moral has improved and we are providing a high standard of service to the community. We have a team dedicated to the county’s citizens. I need to continue this mission to help improve response times, case management & follow up outcomes, and to enhance the general protection of the people and citizens of Osage County.

What are your qualifications? I started my law enforcement career in 1988 and later attended CLEET in 1989. I worked for the Bartlesville Police from 1988-1995. I was recruited by the 11{sup}Th{/sup} Judicial District in 1995 to be the Chief Criminal Investigator and lead the drug and violent crime task force. In 2002 I began to work part time with Sheriff Russell Cottle and operate a cattle ranch. In 2005 I began full time for Sheriff Ty Koch as the Supervisor of District 10 Drug Task force and violent crime unit. I also ran the Special Operations Team. I later transferred to criminal investigations. I then left the Sheriff’s Office in 2010 to work as a Special Agent with the Department of Agriculture Food & Forestry. I retired from Department of Agriculture in 2015. I was elected Sheriff of Osage County in 2016. During my career I was often in a leadership role and lead a great many high risk operations. I have investigated and arrested numerous offenders for crimes such as murder, property thefts and extremely violent offenders. Throughout my various roles I have gained knowledge and experience I feel is crucial to the leadership of this office.

What did you accomplish your first term? Since I took office I have had numerous shortfalls in our budget. In 2014/2015 the county sheriff’s office budget was approximately $4.6 million dollars. Currently we are operating on a budget of $4.3 million dollars.

I had to replace the entire main sewer line in the jail. I replaced locks that were broken in the jail to secure our inmates which in turn protects our correctional officers. I have replaced several expensive items in the jail kitchen including cooking and ventilation equipment. I have added cameras to our infrastructure while upgrading the recording software and storage. We have improved inmate property storage and filing systems. We also brought video arraignment and video calls with inmates at no cost to the citizens. We have a constant expense maintaining old equipment or replacing it.

I have made my office as transparent as possible by giving the citizens full access to speak with me directly on my personal cell phone. (918-214-2233) I want all of our citizens to feel they have a voice and I am here to listen.

I have purchased numerous new vehicles to maintain our fleet. We have pulled the majority of vehicle maintenance in house to control spending. I have increased employee salaries with minimal increases to our budget. I am currently relocating the Sheriff’s Office on site impound yard at no cost with the assistance of County Commissioner, Randall Jones.

I have utilized mobile software to assist outside agencies and medical personnel in locating addresses, incident details, and caller information with Geosafe which is funded by the E 911 business office.

I have consolidated dispatch stations without reducing performance but reducing costs. I have increased cooperation with outside law enforcement agencies and medical agencies.

I have been working with the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association, State Representatives, and State Senators to obtain a better retirement system for our deputies and jail staff. Currently most law enforcement agencies have 20 year retirement benefits and county sheriff’s do not.

I am working with state representatives to assist in changing the law, HB 2336, on teachers to allow them to carry a concealed firearm with the school board permission.

I obtained a grant through the Department of Justice to cover half of the costs associated with purchasing new ballistic vests.

I obtained a grant through Oklahoma Highway Safety to assist in extra deputies to conduct general safety traffic enforcement.

I have obtained a grant with the Department of Environmental Equality which we have a deputy working routinely to investigate and remove illegal trash dump sites.

What do you hope to accomplish in your next term? I hope to continue our mission of protecting and serving. I want to continue to build our relationships with outside agencies. I want to implement programs to deter criminal activity. I plan to continue to build a stronger program for our Reserves.

I would like to secure the futures of my hard working and dedicated employees who have invested their time and careers with the office to make sure we are successful.

Osage County Commissioner District 2

Scott Hilton

What made you to decide to run for county commissioner? After serving Osage County for 26 years, 20 years as the county Commissioner. There were some projects that I had programmed to be done and these projects have not been completed. I believe I can accomplish these tasks in the next four years to make a safer commute for the citizens of Osage County. Restore the level of service that the citizens of Osage County deserve.

What are your qualifications? I have worked for Osage County for 26 years, 20 years as District #2 County Commissioner. The responsibility of the County Commissioner consists of much more than roads and bridges. I have worked in conjunction with two other commissioners on a yearly basis to prepare a budget for all Osage County Entities such as Health Department, Osage County Clerk and other county offices for approval from the Osage County Excise Board. I have served as CED 1 Director, which includes 13 counties, where projects are programmed to receive funding from ODOT. During my tenure as your County Commissioner every bridge in District 2 has been replaced. As Commissioner my relationship with the Osage Nation Road Department was excellent and I would like the opportunity to restore that relationship. I was responsible for 200 plus Osage County employees to provide a safe working environment on a daily basis. I know what it takes to get the job done in the best interest for the Osage County citizens and employees.

What do you hope to accomplish as Commissioner? For me I have seen a decline in the roads and service of our district. We are fortunate to have more miles of hard surface roads than other districts in the county. This doesn’t happen without strong leadership and fiscal responsibility. During the years that I have been commissioner many miles of road ways were repaired and upgraded but I also realize that governing in the county is more than roads. As a member of the Board of County Commissioners, I will work hard to ensure that funding equitable and strengthen for all aspects of county government. As much as anything I want my constituents to feel like they can call with ANY concerns and know that they will honestly and genuinely be heard.

What do you think needs to change? With the major impact of Covid-19 people and government have been financially hammered. I know that there will be a significant loss of revenue with which to operate the county. This will necessitate critically examining each expenditure of every purchase for all county departments to find ways to make up for the short fall. I will explore any changes that will benefit Osage County to recover as quickly as possible from this pandemic. With my 20 years of experience as Commissioner, I am well equipped to make the tough and prudent decisions to keep District 2 and county government moving forward.

Steve Talburt

What made you decide to run for county commissioner? I saw a need for honesty and integrity within the public office.

What are your qualifications? I have 15 years working in county government. Currently I am a Captain for the Osage County Sheriff’s Office; my specialty has been criminal investigations. I have experience in construction as well as experience working with limited budgets. Lastly I have strong leadership experience managing employees.

What do you hope to accomplish as Commissioner? I want to identify and correct all deficiencies within district 2, including identifying the problem roadways and finding a resolution that will improve the safety of all citizens in my district and to help find resolutions to the deficiencies in the finances for the County due to the crisis we have faced over the past few months.

What do you think needs to change? I want to give the citizens of district 2 a voice. I want to be able to fight for the people and correct any and all areas of concern and neglect within District 2.

Tom J. Teel

What made you decide to run for County Commissioner? I feel like Osage County District 2 needs a change after the last 4 years. I feel like I am the right man for the job. My 30 plus years of experience of working at District 2 and my commitment to public service since I graduated high school.

What are your qualifications? I worked 30 plus years at Osage County District 2. In that time I have patched potholes, cut brush, cleaned ditches, and built roads. I have worked closely with the previous Commissioners, the Osage Nation, and ODOT on various road projects.

What do you hope to accomplish as commissioner? As your next Commissioner I will work hard to rebuild the relationship with the City of Skiatook, the Osage Nation, and ODOT. I will work closely with our local fire and ambulance services to do what I can as Commissioner for them to the have what they need to protect the citizens of District 2. I want to work on improving the road conditions, drainage issues, bridges and right of ways to make it safer for our citizens to travel.

What do you think needs to change? Two things I would like to improve upon are the way the money is distributive between the three districts and making District 2 transparent by using social media to let the citizens of District 2 know the weekly work schedule of our employees.

Joe Williams

What made you decide to run for County Commissioner? I decided to run for County Commissioner because I have always believed in public service and community service. I take it very seriously and believe I can make a positive difference in the lives of the citizens that I would be representing if elected. I would carefully and diligently listen to their concerns and needs and work very hard to get those things done to their satisfaction. It is noble work and a very important responsibility.

What are your qualifications? I served as Tulsa City Councilor for 5 terms from 1994-2004 including as City Council Chairman in 1997. I authored the legislation that created the Tulsa Youth Council to help young people learn about city government and present issues of concern to the Tulsa City Council so that we could make Tulsa a better city for which they could live and hopefully as adults remain and take on leadership roles. I am a member of Leadership Oklahoma and was a Board member of Leadership Tulsa, the Tulsa Area United Way, Broken Arrow Chamber of Commerce and Mustang Rotary Club. I have also served on numerous other Boards, Commissions and Committees. I retired after 36 years as an employee of ONEOK and ONE Gas and worked in various senior management positions with experience and a background which includes community relations, operations, accounting, taxation, customer service, administration, budgets and safety.

What do you hope to accomplish as commissioner? I want to accomplish a greater sense of teamwork and comraderie amongst all departments and employees of Osage County government. I want to have better economic development, education, and public safety; and better and safer roads and bridges which will be completed on time.

What do you think needs to change? The change I would like to see is more transparency, accountability and efficiency in county government. This will give the citizens more confidence in the job we all do. Better efficiency will also free up more money to go to our schools, law enforcement, economic development and infrastructure projects.

Follow me on Twitter @SkiatookJournal.

E-mail lindsey.chastain@skiatookjournal.com

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Managing Editor

Lindsey is the managing editor for the Skiatook Journal. She holds an M.A in English from the University of Central Oklahoma. Prior to the start of her news career in 2011, Chastain was a professor of English at the University of Central Oklahoma.

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