Park Record 2018 Voter Guide: Summit County Sheriff
With Election Day approaching, and mail-in ballots on their way to residents, The Park Record asked candidates to answer a series of questions in their own words in order to help voters make informed decisions. View the answers of candidates in other races here.
What are your qualifications to serve as Summit County Sheriff and why are you seeking another term?
Justin Martinez (Incumbent Democrat, unopposed): A Sheriff essentially acts as a CEO of a large company. The Summit County Sheriff oversees a 16 million budget, approximately 102 staff, and leads several divisions: Courts, Civil, Corrections, Investigations, Communications, and Patrol. In order to lead each of these entities effectively in a county as diverse as ours, the Sheriff needs a high-level education AND proven leadership in the ranks of law enforcement. I am proud to say that as I enter my 2nd term as your Sheriff, I now have an MBA from the University of Utah. I am also very proud of my military background, having served in the United States Coast Guard. I am a graduate of the FBI Command College and over my 23-year career, I have held every supervisory rank in law enforcement.
I am seeking a 2nd term because 4 years goes fast! And I’d like to continue to work with my team to achieve an even greater operational tempo with my community-centric, holistic approach to law enforcement. I love this community and it has been a supreme honor to serve as your Sheriff. I am optimistic that the next 4 years will be the best yet with regard to world-class customer service and protection.
When you sought office in 2014, you ran on a platform of bringing a more holistic approach to law enforcement? What does that mean and have you accomplished that?
Martinez: The term “holistic” is often associated with health care. It is a general philosophy of treating the whole person including physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual capacities. In law enforcement, this translates to treating all persons as human beings. We will always look to de-escalate, support, and serve.
An example: We apprehended an individual due to a domestic violence complaint. In the process of the arrest, we learned that this person was a veteran suffering from PTSD. Instead of throwing this person in jail, we advocated on his behalf with the judge to offer treatment at the VA Hospital. Following treatment, this person has not reoffended and has a clean record. This individual now mentors veterans with PTSD.
Holistic law enforcement uses discretion and judgement to see a larger picture of humanity from all angles. However, it also means holding offenders accountable to the fullest extent of the law when needed.
What have you done as sheriff to make Summit County a safer place to live?
Martinez: I have instituted numerous programs throughout the county:
- Merged Summit County and Park City Dispatch Centers – providing a more streamlined response to emergency situations.
- Enhanced School Patrols – deputies have been instructed to patrol, do reports, and be present at schools as often as possible during shifts.
- Increased personnel for the Drug Court and County Probation – holding more offenders accountable for their crimes and reducing recidivism.
- Partnered with Homeland Security – disrupting the flow of drugs in our county.
- Coffee with a Cop – breaking down communication barriers with face to face dialogue regarding county issues.
- Frontline Blueline – formal presentation to parents educating them of the dangers their children face regarding drugs, internet predators, how to identify and intervene appropriately.
- Established Drone and Mounted Posse Programs – both used during Search and Rescue operations to successfully locate people missing in the mountains. These programs can save lives and drastically reduce need for additional resources.
The Summit County Sheriff’s Department provides law enforcement services to each municipality to assist in detective and corrections services, excluding Park City and Kamas which have their own police forces. Should the Sheriff’s Office seek compensation for those services?
Martinez: I believe all the stakeholders (Manager, Mayor’s and Council Members) and attorneys representing the stakeholders need to examine Utah State statute regarding the authority of municipalities and the expectation of providing law enforcement services. Once consensus has been achieved, all the stakeholders should begin a process towards compliance. That may require mayors to either implement their own police force or provide compensation for services received. Regardless, I would be in support of either option and look forward to participating in the process.
According to the Summit County Clerk’s Office, ballots for the Nov. 6 election are set to begin arriving by mail on Friday, Oct. 19. Ballots returned through the mail must be postmarked by Nov. 5. Residents can register to vote online or at the Clerk’s Office through Oct. 30. Same-day registration will also be available at four voting assistance centers throughout the county on Election Day. Visit http://co.summit.ut.us/281/Voter-Registration-Elections for more information.
The second cohort of the county’s Community Planning Lab wrapped up last month after the class spent weeks learning about urban development and design, planning and zoning, public engagement, affordable housing, transportation, land use and more.
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