Editor, Times-Union:

I am writing in support of Kosciusko County Sheriff Kyle Dukes.

One of the planks of deputy Smith’s platform seems to be Sheriff Dukes’ rate of pay.

If we will remember, Sheriff Dukes ran his 2018 campaign with the slogan “A Fresh Start.” Part of that fresh start was running the county Sheriff’s Office according to state statutes. We saw what happens when the sheriff has no accountability, as with the previously elected sheriff who pleaded guilty to a felony.

The state statute that Sheriff Dukes is following bases the sheriff’s pay on the population and a percentage of what the state would pay the prosecutor. Indiana Code Title 36, Section 4, states that in a county with a population between 65,000 and 100,000 “the county must pay the sheriff an annual salary that is equal to at least eighty percent (80%) of the annual minimum salary that would be paid by the state to a full-time prosecuting attorney in the county.”

I WANT the sheriff to follow the state statutes and not pick and choose which ones he thinks are worth following and which ones he doesn’t want to.

If we don’t like the laws written by our state legislators, we vote for different legislators who write the laws as we want them, we don’t vote in a guy that says “he’ll work for less”- that rarely works out well.

By the way, Sheriff Dukes has SAVED the county almost $200,000 a year with re-negotiated contracts that were signed by previous sheriffs and by simply using our money more wisely.

Lastly, I would like to address at least one of the issues that Mr. Ayres brought up in his letter to the editor last week. I did a quick Google search and found out what I already knew - that every report that spoke on the issue of drugs and incarceration said that drug use, overdoses and deaths are up in prisons and jails across the country (deaths are up 600% in prisons and 200% in county jails). But Mr. Smith would like us to believe that he has a “silver bullet” to solve this problem. Perhaps Mr. Smith would better serve the people of this county if he shared his plan with all of the county, state and federal prisons and jails across the country. No, instead, Mr. Smith’s campaign promise of “cleaning up the jail” sounds much like our current sitting president’s promise to eradicate COVID in a few weeks once he took office, and we all know how that has worked out.

Personally, I would rather trust Sheriff Dukes to continue to move our county’s Sheriff’s Office in the direction that he has been guiding it than to trust that Mr. Smith can accomplish what every other jail and prison across the country has not been successful at doing.

Community First.

Tim Stiffler

Syracuse, via email