Editor, Times-Union:

When campaign mudslinging begins, it is easy to believe the worst. How do we sift through the spins and noise to learn the truth? Do your homework.

Nepotism: Indiana Code 4-2-16 (2017). According to Code, a “relative” may be employed in the same agency as the appointed authority. That individual needs to have been employed at least 12 consecutive months prior.

• Chief Deputy Bucher joined law enforcement in September of 2005, 13 years prior to Sheriff Dukes taking office.

• HEA 1005 states a brother-in-law is not a “relative.”

• In 2018, then Det. Bucher turned in 157 cases to the Prosecutor’s Office. Qualifications, not favoritism, dictated his appointment as chief deputy. (newsnowwarsaw.com)

Salaries: County sheriffs have two salary options; Negotiated contracts (IC-36-2-13-2.5) or wages determined by Indiana code “formulas.” (IC-36-2-13-2.8) This formula concentrates on a county’s population and the prosecuting attorney’s salary. (Higher population=higher percentage of the prosecutor’s salary) Collecting tax warrants is part of the job. Compensation for that is in both options.

• Regardless of 2021 salary options, 61 of 92 county sheriff salaries topped county government wages. 20 of the remaining 31 salaries ranked 2nd in their counties. Similar statistics were found for 2020.  That will most likely continue. (openpayrolls.com, govsalaries.com)

• “Apples to apples.” The governor’s salary/compensation package is not a good salary comparison.

• Faqs.in.gov states Holcomb’s 2021 salary was $111,688. With that, 31 of 92 county sheriff salaries exceeded Holcomb’s pay.

Jail maintenance: The County Commissioners are responsible to maintain and supervise county property, including the jail. The Councilmen set priorities for the allocation of county funds. Specialized equipment, specialized furniture and stainless steel lavatories and tables are expensive. Jail maintenance and upgrades are continual and require budget approval.

Bypass rhetoric. Actions speak louder than words.

• In his 2018 campaign, Kyle Dukes promised transparency.  Sheriff Dukes kept his word. Under his leadership, there is no attempt to withhold, even negative, information.

• “Fresh Start” campaign promises were kept.

• Review Sheriff Dukes’ campaign website. The content and tone reveals integrity. That alone deserves respect.

• If you doubt his sincerity or investment in improving inmates’ lives, listen to JCAP Docuseries on Facebook. Watch ABC’s “Beyond the Badge” segment. It is refreshing to have our county and law enforcement seen in a positive light.

Machine politics ask candidates and incumbents to buy the party ticket, lock arms, board the train, commit to the destination and enjoy the ride. If any breaks the chain of “party-first” loyalty, they can expect derailment. We saw that happen throughout the 2016 presidency. It is historical.  It is not right. It happens in both parties, at all levels of government. Sheriff Dukes prioritizes people and service over politics.

Kyle Dukes knows the Lord. He lives a Christian walk as a faithful husband and father. He values life and we know the basis for his decision-making. He has seen people at their worst and still believes in their possibilities.

We believe in Kyle Dukes and trust Sheriff Dukes’ leadership.

Bruce and Beth Lamb

Milford, via email