Proficiency in the wide range of law enforcement's duties highlights the campaigns of two men striving to become the next sheriff of Gasconade County.
In the Aug. 4 primary election, Shawn Mayberry faces off with fellow Republican Scott Eiler for leadership of the Gasconade County Sheriff's Department. The winner is slated to become sheriff in 2021, since there are no opposition candidates on the Nov. 3 general election ballot.
Mayberry said he has 25 years' experience working with the Franklin, Iron, Jefferson, and Warren County sheriff's departments. He has also served in the New Haven, Ironton, and Hermann police departments. He is certified a Crisis Intervention Tech and Crisis Intervention Tech for youth. He is a volunteer firefighter with the Hermann Fire Department. Among other accomplishments and organizations, Mayberry also has a Swift Water Rescue certification and is a member of the National Rifle Association.
Eiler stated he has spent more than 15 years in various capacities of Gasconade County law enforcement. He is a member of the Crisis Intervention Team, and has five years' experience as a supervisor with the Gasconade County Sheriff's Department and Rosebud Police Department. He is currently a patrolman for the Hermann Police Department. His background also includes experience as a search-and-rescue diver and as a tactical operator on the Sheriff's Emergency Response Team.
If elected, Mayberry said he would likely seek to develop a news desk memo system to notify the media -- through himself or a supervisor -- of significant events. He said that system would go hand-in-hand with being accessible on a 24/7 basis to learn about any particular events and their updates.
"My pledge … is to provide firm, fair, consistent leadership with the highest degree of transparency," he said.
His priorities would likely include searching for ways to increase deputy pay to a competitive level and add needed equipment. Plans enacted from the start would be updated as necessary after taking office, with community leaders and the Missouri State Highway Patrol included on any developments.
"Finances affect so much," Mayberry stated. He would attempt securing updated software for road patrol vehicles, to assist deputies in writing reports, while noting the costs "are not cheap."
He would also work on increased public relations and visibility between the officers, the community, and youth.
"I would be at the front of most of that," said Mayberry, including attendance at various meetings and other events, such as those run by the schools.
"If you invest in your officers, they will invest in you," he said. Placing deputies in charge of certain programs -- taser training, for instance -- would provide a sense of importance to department needs.
Eiler said he would make an effort to keep media updated with as much information as possible, but without hindering active investigations. Cooperation with other agencies would represent another key.
"Everything will be all facts," he said. "The community is still respectful. They have respect for us," and that's how the department would treat residents, he continued. "They can trust me….The experience I have in the county, as a whole, will go a long way."
He admitted that lack of enough finances is a thorny issue in terms of recruiting deputies.
"It's hard to hire a deputy right now," said Eiler, adding good leadership and a good work environment are pluses in the efforts to add and retain staff.
His priorities would also cover increased patrols on county roads and adding to the agency's partnership in youth and school activities. He wants youth to realize officers are just as human as they are, and would seek a better community understanding of law enforcement's duties.
"The biggest thing is the budget," he said, noting he would live within the means set by the county commission. "There's a lot of grants out there that we can apply for. We have to reach out to resources….I'll use any resources, or anything I can get my hands on, to solve (a crime) or get a conviction."