Miami County sheriff faces candidate in Republican primary

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak
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Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the Ohio primary election was moved from March 17. The deadline to vote in the Ohio primary election is April 28. Voters must request an absentee ballot from their county’s board of election if they have not already voted. All absentee ballots mailed in must have a postmark of April 27 to be counted, and all ballots must be received by the boards by May 8 to be counted. Voters can drop off the ballots to board offices in person by 7:30 p.m. April 28. In-person voting will be offered on April 28, but will only occur at boards of elections early voting center and only be available for people with disabilities who require in-person voting and people who do not have a home mailing address. Local election officials say voters need to make sure they include all the required information on absentee ballot request forms and pay close attention to unsolicited request forms they get in the mail. State law allows ballots to be scanned but they cannot be tabulated until 7:30 p.m. April 28.

Miami County Sheriff Dave Duchak has a challenge from a familiar face in the March 17 election for sheriff.

Duchak, in his first term as elected sheriff, and Paul Reece, a former deputy in Miami and Montgomery counties, are the candidates in the Republican primary. No Democrat filed for the position.

Reece and Duchak were among four Republican candidates four years ago when Duchak ended up with the most votes and then defeated independent challenge Joe Mahan in the November general election.

Both candidates this year are talking about leadership, employee health, drugs and meeting jail space needs.

Duchak said he has worked hard to help address drug problems and acquire new technology whenever possible. He also is working on providing mental health/stress tools for deputies and correction officers, Duchak said.

Reece said he is interested in engaging farmers and other rural residents in community policing efforts and also advocates taking care of employees and families.

Dave Duchak, 55, of Troy is the current Miami County sheriff. He is a graduate of Tippecanoe High School and attended the University of Dayton and the Butler Twp. Police academy. He has two adult children, both attending college. For more information on his campaign visit www.reelectduchak.

What are the top challenges facing the department?

- Narcotics enforcement: "Four years ago we were in the midst of a terrible heroin and opioid epidemic in the county and across the country. At that time, I assisted with others in forming the Miami County Heroin Coalition. We met monthly the first few years and continue to meet bi-monthly. The name has since been changed to the Drug-Free Coalition. Much was accomplished as we were not going to arrest our way out of the problem and the reduction in use evidenced by the fact that overdose visits to emergency rooms are down by at least half.However, we have seen a resurgence of methamphetamine and cocaine. Because of this, I added another narcotics detective and also had a detective detailed with the Dayton Office of the DEA. There is much cross-over in the drug trade and this partnership with the DEA has and will continue to pay many dividends to keep narcotics out of Miami County."

- Maintaining services/technology: "While our statutory responsibilities are great, the community expects and we enjoy offering many community outreach programs from active shooter training, project lifesaver, citizen and teen academies, youth camp, safety town, to name several. I will always strive to offer as many community outreach programs as possible, but at times this does stretch personnel. It is also important for us to stay current with technology that will assist enforcement efforts. We have been very successful in acquiring technology through grants and narcotics enforcement seizure funds. Our most recent addition is a drone which will have a lot of public safety utility. Keeping current with ever changing technology and seeking outside funding will continue to be an issue."

- Maximum security detention addition: "The county will need to start planning for building a maximum-security addition to the minimum security jail on County Road 25 A in the near future. The demand for maximum security beds is increasing as the state continues to shift the burden for housing felony 4 and 5 offenders onto the counties. By having both jails under one roof there would be long term cost savings as less personnel would be needed for staffing. Some good news is there is finally some movement in Columbus to possibly start offering funding for counties in need of a new jail or renovations. I and the commissioners have sent a letter to ensure the county is on the list of those in need of funding. We will continue do all we can to leverage any state dollars for a project."

How would you describe your management approach? "My management approach is open door albeit we are a paramilitary organization and for information flow both ways to be successful a chain of command is followed. With that being said, I'm always around and interacting with employees as I value their input.

“Additionally, I do not believe in micro-managing and am always seeking input from all employees so I can better make decisions on purchases, policies, new programs, whatever issue we are facing. I am blessed to have one of the best staffs in the state and I credit how successful the sheriff’s office has been the past several years to all of them.”

Paul Reece
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Paul Reece

Paul Reece, 53, of Piqua previously ran for sheriff in 2016. He holds a BA in organizational management from Bluffton University and a Master of Arts in business and organizational management from Webster University.

He is a retired deputy sheriff; United States Army Reserve Chief Warrant Officer Three; and a Special Agent United States Army Criminal Investigation Division Command.

Reece and his wife, Denise, have a combined family of six children and 12 grandchildren

More information on his campaign is available at:

Facebook: Paul Reece for Miami County Sheriff

www.ElectPaulReece.com

Email: info@electpaulreece.com

What are the top challenges facing the department?

- Public perceptions and credibility issues: "Trust is essential in our line of work, and the sheriff is responsible for building that trust in three important areas. The first is with his team and their families. It is the team that provides the services to our community each day. Next is the community. Engaging with the community and community leaders is paramount to relationship building and earning real trust. Lastly is the importance of building positive relationships with other officials across the county to include the leadership of each law enforcement agency, fire departments and emergency services providers."

- The jails: "The jail facilities, which are provided and owned by the taxpayer, must be maintained and operational by ensuring that preventative maintenance and checks are complete. I will recruit, hire, train and retain correction officers, and advocate for them and the important work they do. While renting bed space sounds great, and I am willing to consider that option once we have a plan in place to house our prisoners, the $750,00,00 estimated income to the county is based on renting all 60 beds for 365 days continually. This financial equation does not address the necessity to keep Miami County criminals off of Miami County streets."

- Illicit drugs and the crimes associated with them. "Saying you cannot arrest your way out of this situation is a great way to kick the can down the road. Saying that you sit on boards and attend training does not equate to action as sheriff. Under the current process, most addicts are not arrested, thus placing them and the community at risk. Where possible, we must arrest them on the spot as opposed to issuing a summons for them to appear in court months later for the safety of the addict and the welfare of involved children and family members. When an addict is without money and drugs, the propensity for property crimes (burglaries, breaking and entering) thefts, robberies, prostitution and human trafficking increase. This also puts our farmers, small businesses, and villages at a higher risk."

How would you describe your management approach? "I prefer to approach my team from a leadership approach as opposed to a manager and a supervisor. The very nature of our profession requires a police officer to place themselves in harm's way every day. You cannot manage someone into these dangerous environments, but you can lead them.

” I learned in the Army that in part, leadership is accomplished by providing the purpose, direction and motivation to accomplish the mission, among other things. Most important is the task of leadership development for the entire team. We have a responsibility to instill leadership principles in those who wish to move upward. I accomplish this by working alongside our team, so I best understand their needs and the needs of our community.”