Editor, Times-Union:

I worked for the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department at the Work Release Center for just short of 10 years. The last two years were under the Dukes administration. When Kyle Dukes took over, he made no effort to meet with the staff at Work Release. He took such little interest in the Work Release Center that rumors started to circulate that he was planning to relinquish control of the facility to Kosciusko Community Corrections. More than a year and a half into his term, I took the initiative to introduce myself to the sheriff at a community parade and ask him about the rumors. He said that he was indeed considering turning over control of the facility. I asked him if he would meet with his employees at Work Release so we could get to know him and his plans for the agency. He said that he would. He never did.

Now it’s election time, and suddenly Kyle Dukes has great interest in the Work Release Center, promoting it on his Facebook page through his “Work Release Wednesday” posts, celebrating all of the satisfied inmates (or “residents,” as he would now have us call them) who live there. While I’m all for treating everyone with respect, we still need to remember that Work Release is a form of punishment for people who have committed crimes. Under the lax rules of the Dukes administration, inmates have, in addition to their traditional Sunday passes, been permitted to do such things as go out to dinner together, walk through the Christmas lights at the park, and go to a middle school girls’ basketball game. We can respect incarcerated people without throwing parties for them. Things have gotten way too liberal.

This is why I 100% support Jim Smith for Kosciusko County sheriff. I became friends with Jim while working for the Sheriff’s department. Jim would stop into Work Release and talk and joke with staff and inmates. I know that Jim would take interest in the Work Release Center throughout his entire term, not just when he’s up for reelection. I know that he would care about people no matter what side of the law they were on, while still having the focus and discipline to keep things from getting out of control. Coming from a military background, Jim knows that “discipline” isn’t a bad word, and sometimes it’s just what people need to get their lives on track.

That is why I encourage you to vote for Jim Smith for Kosciusko County Sheriff on May 3rd.

Mike Robinson

Former Work Release officer

and son of former Sheriff Ron Robinson

Bourbon, via email