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Bios, Q&A: Sheriff

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Name: Matt Myers

Age: 45

Political party: Republican

Office sought: Bartholomew County sheriff

Occupation: Lieutenant and public information officer with Columbus Police Department

Prior elected offices held, and when: None

Prior elected offices sought, and when: None

Family: Wife, Kyra Goins-Myers; children, John-David, Kolsen, Nash.

Education: Associate degree in criminal justice from Vincennes University; FBI National Academy, Quantico, Va., 2010; Indiana Association of Chiefs of Police, Police Executive Leadership Academy 2009-2010 Maximum Impact Conference; certificate of professional leadership development, 2007; Regional Organized Crime Information Center, Leading Ethically, 2010; certificate of achievement in criminal justice, University of Virginia, 2010; U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Emergency Management Institute’s ICS-400, 2010; Public Agency Training Council, first-line supervisor, 2004; basic hostage negotiations, Northwestern University Traffic Institute, 1994; basic narcotic and dangerous drugs, Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Department of Justice, 1997; Methamphetamine/Marijuana Interdiction Conference, U.S. Department of Justice, 1997; legal aspects of search and seizure, Law Enforcement Training Institute, 1997; practical hostage negotiations and crisis intervention, Indianapolis Police Department, 1997; IUPUC Diversity Circle Graduate, 2013.

Community involvement: Su Casa Board Member, 2010-present; Columbus Police Department Pension Board, 2008-present; vice president, PAAL Board of Directors, 2005-2008, 2012-2013; Leadership Bartholomew County Board, 2002-2003; March of Dimes Planning Committee, 2001-2002; DARE Advisory Board Member, 2001-2003; Youth Hope Board, 1999; Youth Advisory Board, 1999; PAAL Board Member, 2001-present; PAAL basketball coach, 1999-2001, 2012-2014; PAAL taekwondo instructor, 1993-1995; Discover Columbus graduate, 1994; Bar-Cons Federal Credit Union board of directors.

Name: T. A. Smith

Age: 56

Political party: Republican

Office sought: Bartholomew County sheriff

Occupation: Deputy sheriff and supervisor of patrol with Bartholomew County Sheriff's Department

Prior elected offices held, and when: None.

Prior elected office sought, and when: Sheriff’s office, 1995.

Family: Wife, Becky Payne Smith; sons, Bronson, Joshua, Zachariah; three grandchildren.

Education: South Decatur High School; attended Indiana University with studies in criminal justice; Indiana Law Enforcement Academy; University of Virginia with studies in criminal psychology and management; graduate of FBI National Academy; FBI-certified in hostage negotiation; certified law enforcement instructor, graduate of DEA Comprehensive Drug Investigation Training; certified field training officer; certified in swift-water rescue; Department of Justice Community Orientated Policing, Ethical Response to Hispanic Citizens; Spanish for law enforcement; certified chemical munitions and distraction devices instructor; certified ASP instructor; certified defensive tactics/ground fighting instructor; Homeland Security/Department of Defense Section 8 training; interview and interrogation techniques for street and drug investigations; certified critical incident stress debriefing counseling; certified IDACS/NCIC operator; ATF graduate of prevention and response to suicide bombing attacks; incident response to terrorists bombing; post-bomb blast investigative techniques.

Community involvement: PAAL Board member/past president and coach; third-degree Knight of Columbus; member of St. Bartholomew Church; Fraternal Order of Police; FBI National Academy member since 2004; previous Iceman Hockey Club Board member and team assistant; delivered Christmas meals for duration of this effort at St. Peter's Church; donated time to War Veterans graveside wreath placement; instructor through Indiana University of Columbus for self-defense classes; donated time and instructions for churches and various clubs and organizations throughout Columbus in basic self-defense and awareness classes; Leadership Bartholomew County graduate; class leader at Ko’s Martial Arts School (third-degree black belt), Parks and Recreation softball coach.

Name: Todd F. Noblitt

Age: 49

Political Party: Republican

Office Sought: Bartholomew County sheriff

Occupation: Major and chief deputy with Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Department

Prior Office Held: None

Prior Office Sought: None

Family: Wife, Mary (Fisher) Noblitt; son, Christopher.

Education: Columbus North High School; attended Indiana University Purdue University Columbus. Graduate of the University of Louisville-Southern Police Institute; Executive Police Leadership; graduate and certified instructor with the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.

Community Involvement: Community Church of Columbus, member; Harrison College Criminal Justice Advisory Board; Bartholomew County Right to Life; Leadership Bartholomew County graduate; volunteer with Bartholomew County United Way and area youth programs.

Name: Dean Johnson

Age: 48

Political party: Republican

Office sought: Bartholomew County sheriff

Occupation: Merit road sergeant

Prior elected offices held, and when: None.

Prior elected offices sought, and when: None.

Family: Wife, Terri; children, Chelsea, Levi.

Education: Graduate of Columbus North High School; graduate of Vincennes University with an associate degree in law enforcement

Community involvement: Lifelong member of Ogilville United Methodist Church, serving several three-year terms as trustee and helped oversee the building process of the new parsonage and church.

Incumbent Sheriff Mark Gorbett earns $114,800 annually. Is this the reason why you believe there is such a large field of candidates? Other than money, what might be better reasons to seek the office?


I did not start my career at the sheriff's department 28 years ago for the money. I did it because I enjoy helping the people and making a difference — that's the true reward. The reason to seek office is to improve the quality of life for the citizens of Bartholomew County and the morale of the officers.


County Council controls salary and funding. As an officer for over 20 years, I have never sought a position for the pay. I believe my programs of increased training of deputies, close cooperation with neighboring agencies and building a strong partnership with the community will work best to improve all county citizens' quality of life.


When money is a motivating factor for public service, an atmosphere of mistrust and abuse is created. A sheriff must promote transparency, accountability and trust. A desire to serve and community safety must remain the top priorities. As sheriff, I will enter into a salary contract that won't include funding sources associated with the sheriff's office functions.


Those candidates who are highly motivated and passionate law enforcement officers are inherent to seek the highest position they can, within their field of practice. As my campaign states, dedicated, professional leadership is and has been foremost. Providing the citizens with working experience in administrative and street-level knowledge is imperative for any sheriff.

The two most important qualities for a law officer to possess are intelligence and compassion, according to Bartholomew County Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Duke. Do you agree? If so, why would compassion be important to a sheriff?


Wisdom would also be an important quality. Compassion is important in the majority of the calls or incidents the department is involved with since there is either a victim, close friend or family member that is affected. The lack of concern or compassion by law enforcement only adds to the bystander's fears or burdens about the officer.


While intelligence and compassion is important for any law enforcement officer, integrity is the single crucial quality any officer should encompass. I will emphasize integrity and accountability as sheriff. Intelligence, compassion and integrity are necessary for any leader, as it is central to building long-term trustworthy working relationships necessary to be an effective sheriff.


While intelligence and compassion are essential qualities, decisions or actions cannot be based solely on intelligence or compassion. To be an effective leader, a sheriff must possess many qualities and use them to make well-informed, fair decisions. A sheriff must make decisions based on intelligence, compassion, courage, integrity, fairness, consistency and proper application of the law.


I prefer common sense and passion. These are foremost when working for citizens that have put faith in you as sheriff. If you have passion for the job, compassion follows. Intelligence and compassion are qualities that don't always make good leaders. Our military forces opt for common sense and passion and have been successful with these traits.

The code of ethics for the Indiana Sheriff’s Association states a sheriff should “hire and promote only those employees or others who are the very best candidates for a position according to accepted standards of objectivity and merit. I shall not permit other factors to influence hiring or promotion practices.” Why is this important?


We need the best and most trustworthy people working for the sheriff's department, holding positions from patrolman to ranking officers. All fellow officers must trust and respect each other. Along with it, this is what the citizens of Bartholomew County deserve and pay for.


As sheriff, using integrity, I will hire and promote only the best candidates to be deputies. Those with the best qualifications and strongest work ethics will advance. This will be central in improving the department. There are very good current employees that deserve recognition and a sheriff committed to the department overall.


Unfortunately, cronyism has been an accepted practice in some law enforcement agencies for centuries. This type of conduct breeds discontentment, ill will and is a direct threat to public safety. In accordance with Indiana law, the sheriff, with Merit Board approval, establishes guidelines for hiring, discipline and promotion.


My objectives are and have been to seek the best-trained, highly motivated, passionate, people-orientated employees who possess common sense to deal with the job. They coincide with the idea of promoting employees, with emphasis on “Let me catch you doing something right.” Employees shown these traits will project these same concepts.

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