The names of three Republican candidates for the position of Champaign County sheriff will be on the March 17 primary ballot. There are no Democrat candidates. The term is for four years and the 2021 annual salary will be $74,923.
The three candidates are Chad Burroughs of St. Paris, incumbent Sheriff Matthew Melvin of Urbana and David Patrick II of Urbana. Each was asked to provide biographical information within a 150-word limit and responses to the following questions, each within a 75-word limit. Responses exceeding the word limits have been edited to conform.
The following responses were submitted by Chad Burroughs.
Submitted biographical information
My name is Chad Burroughs, I was born and raised on a Champaign County farm near St. Paris. I attended Graham Schools and shortly after graduating high school I attended the Law Enforcement Academy and have served in one capacity or another for over 30 years.
Over those past 30 years I have attended several hundred law enforcement courses and training opportunities, specializing in Major Crimes.
The majority of my career has been spent in the United States investigating major crimes such as homicide, property crimes, narcotics and sex crimes. I also have extensive experience in developing policy and procedures, budgeting and the general operations of a Sheriff’s Office. Throughout that time, I’ve held the ranks of Sergeant, Detective Sergeant, Major and Colonel and even served as a law enforcement officer in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
Why are you the best-qualified candidate for the Champaign County Sheriff?
Over the past 30 years I have had the opportunity to work with some of the most dedicated and knowledgeable officers and agencies in the country. Through that experience I have been able to learn valuable lessons when dealing with employees, the public and a vast array of law enforcement issues.
I have worked in many departments within a Sheriff’s Office and have been involved in every phase of its operation.
Do you believe enough funds are allocated from the county to the Sheriff’s Office?
If I am elected I intend on re-assessing the entire budget. Upon review of the 2019, budget it appears the Sheriff’s Office returned funds in excess of $150,000 to the county’s general fund. If upon re-assessment we have the necessary coverage and equipment our officers need to keep them safe and are properly equipped to do the job, then I would say yes there is enough funding allocated to the Sheriff’s Office.
What areas of the sheriff’s office could be made more cost-effective?
The Sheriff’s Office provides a service 24 hours a day 7 days a week 365 days of the year. If elected I will re-assess the entire budget and save or reduce wherever makes the most sense while being completely transparent to the county citizens. However, until assessments can be made on things such as officer safety, equipment, and training, just to name a few, it is not possible to answer this question specifically.
What is currently the most likely public safety threat to law-abiding Champaign County residents and how could the sheriff’s office minimize the risk?
I believe that the greatest threat to people anywhere these days are active shooters. I recently read an article that indicated at least 3 active shooters cases per day are recorded here in the United States. That is scary to say the very least.
This county has already experienced one case and without trying to scare anyone, I would say statistically it can happen again. My plan is to educate the public and provide high-level training.
What is your position on the Second Amendment with regard to the public’s access to automatic or rapid-firing military-style weapons?
I believe in the Second Amendment and would never vote to abolish it.
How much responsibility should deputies have for administering antidotes for opioid overdoses?
If an officer has the ability to administer an antidote to save a human life then they should, without question. I have heard a lot of people say that we should let people die if they want to use drugs and put themselves in that situation. But we are talking about someone’s loved one. It is our duty to save every life that we can, regardless of the circumstances.
Do you believe that the local schools are safer from active shooter situations than they were 10 years ago? Please explain why or why not.
I do believe that our school systems are safer today than they were 10 years ago but believe that there is always room for improvement. After the incident involving the West Liberty School District, I believe that additional steps were taken to upgrade the security of all the county school systems. However if elected it will be my responsibility to make sure that we work diligently with our school systems and community.
What 3 goals would you like to accomplish if elected and how would you do this?
The first goal I would like to accomplish is to make our schools as safe as possible from active shooters or other violent situations.
The second goal I would like to accomplish is to raise the solvability rates on property crimes, which are defined as burglary, theft, auto theft and arson. The national solvability rate for these crimes is about 15%-19%.
The third goal I would like to accomplish is to aggressively investigate drug crimes.