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 Sheriff Matthew Melvin.
Submitted biographical information
As a lifelong Champaign County resident, I chose to stay in this county and begin my career in public service. After graduating from Urbana High School, I continued my education at Clark State Community College, obtaining a Degree in Criminal Justice. In 1995, I was hired at the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office where I am honored to serve as your Sheriff. During my tenure at the Sheriff’s Office, I have had the opportunity to have some truly amazing mentors, who helped me along my path in this profession. I continue to meet and exceed all the State of Ohio’s mandatory Sheriff training classes and will continue my training throughout my career. As Sheriff, I have extensive experience upholding your constitutional rights as United States Citizens, while ensuring premium law enforcement services. I am the only candidate with experience and proven leadership within the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office.
Why are you the best-qualified candidate for Champaign County Sheriff?
Experience and Leadership! I have 25 years of dedicated experience to the Office and the citizens of Champaign County. No other candidate has hands on experience in Champaign County working as a Dispatcher, Correction Officer, Court Services Deputy, Patrol Deputy, Sergeant, Chief Deputy and Sheriff. As Sheriff, I remain active and involved within the community, and will continually strive to make Champaign County safer for all that live and work here.
Do you believe enough funds are allocated from the county to the sheriff’s office?
As Sheriff, I have been very fortunate to have the support of our County Commission. Whenever there is a true need for funds, the County Commission more than adequately supports the Sheriff’s Office. I believe as good stewards of our county’s tax dollars, we spend very responsibly. Additionally, during my tenure as Sheriff, we continually return funds to the commission at the end of each fiscal year.
What areas of the sheriff’s office could be made more cost effective?
As Sheriff, my staff and I have been fiscally sound for the last 7 years in office. We continue to operate within the means given by the Champaign County Commission for our annual budgets; returning in excess of $500,000 over the last two years. I can assure you, my staff and I will strive to operate within our provided budget, while providing the highest level of law enforcement service.
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?
Drug abuse and violence continue to be an issue throughout the country. The opioid epidemic has been well documented and sadly we have felt the effects locally. As Sheriff, I have dedicated resources to collaborative task forces in order to target those who supply drugs. Mass shootings, either at a school, workplace, or place of worship should be a concern in every community. We need to keep educating and training schools, businesses and church leaders.
What is your position on the Second Amendment with regard to the public’s access to automatic or rapid-firing military-style weapons?
As Sheriff, I took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. Being a strong supporter of the Second Amendment; I will continue to defend a law abiding citizen’s right to own and possess legal firearms. Citizens need to be afforded their rights to due process and be protected against unreasonable search and seizure as the Fourth Amendment demands. As your Sheriff, I will continue to uphold the Constitution and protect these rights.
How much responsibility should deputies have for administering antidotes for opioid overdoses?
In 2016, Deputies began carrying Narcan which has been used effectively to save citizens lives. Deputies themselves have used Narcan when they have been exposed to deadly opioids. Narcan gives Deputies the ability to provide a possible life saving intervention to counteract the presence of opioids. The question of administering antidotes is not a matter of “responsibility” but more a matter of “service with compassion”.
Do you believe the local schools are safer from active shooter situations than they were 10 years ago?
Yes, as Sheriff, I have a collaborative effort with our schools to increase safety and security by providing them with extensive training, including ALICE. This empowers students and teachers with the skills and knowledge necessary when responding to an active shooting situation. Our response to school violence was more “reactionary”, whereas now my Office takes a “pro-active” role in safeguarding the students and staff. Currently we have SROs in: Graham, West Liberty and Triad.
What 3 goals would you like to accomplish if elected and how would you do this?
I would like to implement a Citizens Criminal Justice Academy. This would involve citizens of Champaign County in a training program that provides them with knowledge of how county entities operate.
I would like to expand personnel within our Patrol Division and Investigation Division. I have a plan in place to achieve this in 2020.
I would like to see the evidence division of my Office accredited by the International Association for Property and Evidence.