John Randolph answers questionnaire for Carter County Sheriff

Drew Butler
The Daily Ardmoreite
News Alert

John Randolph is running for the office of Carter County Sheriff against incumbent Chris Bryant and challenger Phillip Wolfenbarger.  Early voting starts this morning, and election day will be on Tuesday, June 30. Because all candidates are Republican and there are no Democrat challengers, the winner of this election will be elected sheriff if he wins more than 50% of the vote. If no candidate wins more than 50%, a runoff election with the top two candidates will be scheduled for August 25. Only registered Republicans can vote in this election.

All three candidates were given the same series of four questions to answer with responses to be no longer than 100 worlds. Here are Randolph’s answers.

1. What inspired you to run for the office of Carter County Sheriff?

People I talk to say they never see the sheriff's deputies patrolling their communities. This is a real problem. In the last three years since the present sheriff took office, he has lost about half his staff, from junior deputies to those of senior levels. That affects the ability to conduct patrols. That affects training and retention because senior staff members are often the ones tasked with teaching junior fellows. Training, professionalism, and morale are inseparable. He cannot protect the community if no one wants to work for the sheriff. I am running to restore confidence in the sheriff's office.

2. What can you bring to the job that your opponents cannot?

I have been in service to my community for a combined 51 years. I spent 27 years as an active duty law enforcement officer, with 17 years in investigations. I spent 24 years in the military. Bryant has been an active duty officer for less than three years. I am a certified law enforcement instructor, and right away we will begin hosting local academies to get our deputies trained and ready to meet heightened public expectations. I will reestablish the sheriff's office as a serious contributor to criminal investigations. Currently, Bryant's undersheriff is also the county's only narcotics investigator.

3. What do you hope to accomplish during your time in office?

Rebuild the sheriff's office. It's not a budget problem, it's just understaffed. We have fewer deputies than what is budgeted to us. The office has been decimated by turnover, poor morale, and poor leadership. Let's increase patrols. Reestablish the investigative capabilities of the office so that we are not left depending on the state to conduct investigations for us. Raise the morale of deputies still here. Hire new deputies to help them, and bring in senior officers from other departments to assist me. Rebuild the reserve deputy corps using local academies and augment the numbers we have on full-time patrol. 

4. How do you see the sheriff's department evolving in light of recent events calling for police reform?

The need for police presence will never go away, but policemen are human beings. They require a strong chain of command, and they need to know they will be held accountable if they fail the highest standards of conduct. Additional training ensures they continue to mature as professionals. But discipline must be fair, because the job has only gotten more difficult over time. As law enforcement, we answer to the public. We are ourselves members of the public, and to function effectively we require the public's cooperation and approval. We will always seek communication and deescalation with our fellow citizens.