Write-in candidate files against Edmunds
Removing nepotism from the ranks of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office would improve employee morale damaged since Sheriff Dave Edmunds took over in 2003, said Coalville resident Brody Taylor, a write-in candidate running against Edmunds Nov. 7.
Taylor insisted during an interview Tuesday that his job as a deputy in Summit County deterred him from filing as a candidate last spring but he wouldn’t comment in detail about why he left the department.
He was a jailer for most of his nearly 10 years with the Sheriff’s Office, Taylor said, adding that he worked as a street deputy for about a year.
But Taylor’s sparse resume and lack of a college degree doesn’t qualify him to oversee the county’s largest law enforcement agency, with roughly 110 employees and an $8 million budget, the incumbent Edmunds said.
Taylor counters that Edmunds didn’t receive a bachelor’s degree from Weber State University in Ogden until after he was elected in 2002.
"[Brody Taylor] could do exactly what Edmunds did, and go to school and finish that degree after the fact," countered Jason Taylor, Brody Taylor’s campaign manager and brother.
In the 2002 Sheriff’s Office race, Edmunds received 4,706 votes to Democrat Joe Offret’s 4,400.
"I don’t think a lack of a degree made Dave Edmunds a better or worse police officer," Jason Taylor said. "[Brody Taylor] may not have a degree from a university, but a degree in the trenches. He’s more qualified than Edmunds and Edmunds couldn’t argue the fact."
County deputies disgruntled by the Edmunds administration helped convince him to file as a write-in candidate who is not affiliated with any political party, Brody Taylor said.
"I’ve been approached by a number of business owners, present deputies, former deputies, and they want someone to make a stand against Sheriff Edmunds," said the candidate, who is 30 years old. "I know it’s a long shot but anything’s possible."
To combat drug abuse in Summit County schools more deputies need to work inside the institutions, said Brody Taylor.
"I’ll focus more on families and kids. There are major problems in the schools, including drugs, and there are a lot of parents concerned," he said.
Tempers flared this year in Kamas when Kamas Police Chief Errik Ovard was stripped of his license to practice law enforcement after he pleaded no contest to charges related to domestic assault. Because Edmunds pushed for Ovard’s suspension, the sheriff’s relationship with the Kamas Police Department and Kamas Mayor Lew Marchant likely remains rocky.
"I’ve talked to the mayor of Kamas and there is so much contention," Taylor said. "I’ve been approached by several deputies about running because they know I will be fair and honest."
Meanwhile, when Edmunds hired Chief Deputy Dave Booth in 2003 he created friction among employees at the Summit County Jail because Booth has since been his wife Kati Booth’s boss, Taylor said, adding that Kati Booth is a supervisor in the jail
"Nepotism is a negative connotation when favors and privileges are bestowed on some because of their relationship with the people in charge, not because of their qualifications," Jason Taylor said.
Recently, Kati Booth has pushed her staff to support Edmunds’ re-election bid, which is "way beyond the scope of her job," he added.
"It’s dirty," Jason Taylor said.
While insisting Dave Booth does not directly supervise his wife, Edmunds says members of the same family have often worked for the department.
"We are hiring highly educated, highly qualified, highly motivated individuals," said Edmunds, who dismissed Taylor’s criticism of the department as "silly." "[Taylor] doesn’t understand what the job entails & This is a very complicated, complex and important job and you need a professional doing it."
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