Editor, Times-Union:

I am writing to support Kyle Dukes for re-election for sheriff in the Republican primary. There are many reasons to give him another term.  

First off, is he promised a fresh start and he delivered. When there were people in this county protesting law enforcement, Kyle Dukes went out to meet them and hear their concerns. How many other sheriffs in the state of Indiana did that? Would his opponent do that? Law enforcement serves us, and Kyle Dukes has been a servant, as well as a sheriff.

Secondly is he’s made the sheriff’s department more visible at public events. Looking at their Facebook page, they are at all sorts of events, from parades to First Fridays to festivals. Kyle Dukes and the Sheriff’s Department has been there.

Third is the creation of Camp H.E.R.O. This was a brilliant idea to allow children a chance to see the people behind the badge. The kids can interact with many different law enforcement, medical and other emergency services personnel. It shows kids that these people are human, too, and if they see them doing their job, the kids can trust those people.

Fourth is the continuation of JCAP. Give credit to former Sheriff Goshert for starting this program, but give plenty of thanks to Kyle Dukes for continuation of this program. It allows people to get a fresh start after making many bad decisions that led them to jail. Many other states or localities would let them continue the cycle of drug abuse. Kyle Dukes wants people to break this addiction and have people be productive members of society.

Now there have been a lot of false criticisms. The first is his salary. He is following the law. I read HB 1108 as was suggested, and the salary is, “the annual minimum salary for a full-time prosecuting attorney AND the amount of any additional salary paid by the county to a prosecuting attorney.” What they forgot to mention was SB 349 from this year which that the sheriff MAY retain tax warrant collection fees. And that bill died in the Senate. Kyle Dukes is acting within the bounds of the law. Why would someone be upset about tax warrants being collected?

The other major criticism is the jail conditions. How is this all Kyle Dukes’ fault? Things break all the time in jails, probably because many people in the jail, are not having a good time and would rather not be there. The deputies and the jail workers are doing the best they can with the resources and I know that Kyle Dukes is pushing hard to get more funding. But there has to be a line. Sure, it would be great if prisoners stopped trying to bring drugs into the jail and not break anything. But unless you’re willing to turn a county jail into a supermax, good luck trying to stop it. The best we can do is make sure that the jail workers, like all sheriff’s deputies are trained to do their job. And I am confident that Kyle Dukes is the one to do that.

Gary Eppenbaugh

Warsaw, via email